The Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in Danville presented their annual Servant Leadership Awards recently to 31 outstanding high school juniors and seniors from the dioceses of Harrisburg, Scranton, Trenton and Bridgeport. The ceremony took place at the Basilica of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Danville.
Over the past 15 years, the congregation has honored more than 990 teens with the Servant Leadership Award, which recognizes distinguished high school juniors and seniors who are joyful witnesses, compassionate proclaimers, and enthusiastic builders of the Kingdom of God. The focus of the award is on teens who remain active in their faith and parish beyond Confirmation, and who actively serve in their parish, school and community.
Receiving the award this year were: Katherine Arway, Robert Beck, Samuel Bellis, Heather Beveridge, Sarah Castellan, Lawrence Czeponis III, Michaela Elsen, Erin Evans, Lydia Gould, Stephen Gresh, Elijah Hoffman, Phillip Hutnick-Kenenitz, Justin Ickowitz, Francesca Kalie, Aaron Keehan, John Kerris, Brooklyn Kuijpers, Katelynn Kuijpers, Benjamin McFadden, John Morris, Hannah Nolter, Joseph Ricco, Michele Schiano-di-Cola, Erika Serafin, Camilla Shreiner, Zack Smith, John Snyder, Colette Southerton, Lilly Strader, Katlynn Weidensaul and Alexa Willoughby.
Each teen was given the opportunity to select one person as a mentor who has encouraged them to generously use their time and talents as a follower of Jesus. The mentors selected were parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, youth ministers, Scout leaders, deacons, religious sisters and priests, who have been role models for the teens. Mentors recognized by the teens have made a difference in their lives by modeling servant leadership as a way of life in their family, parish, and community.
Also during the ceremony, the Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius honored four adults who received the Father Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award in the ministries of evangelization, education, elder care and ecumenism. Father Jankola was a priest from the Diocese of Scranton who was instrumental in recognizing the need for religious sisters to educate children, and founded the Sisters of Sts. Cyril and Methodius in 1909.
Father Gerard Heintzelman was the recipient of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Evangelization. Father Heintzleman has taken to heart Jesus’ command to “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.” From the time of his ordination in 1959 to the present, her has never missed an opportunity to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. Father Heintzleman was the first full-time Catholic Chaplain at Geisinger Medical Center from 1964-1970, which began 42 years of service in the health care ministry. He also served as Chaplain at Hershey Medical Center, Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Care at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, Calif., and currently serves as Chaplain at Maria Hall in Danville.
Sister Donna Marie Ivanko, SS.C.M., was the recipient of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Education. Sister Donna Marie has been an educator for more than 60 years, serving from preschool through high school. She served as Principal at St. Cyril Academy in Danville, and for the past 17 years served and continues to serve as Principal of St. Cyril Preschool and Kindergarten in Danville, where she transforms education as she welcomes young children and their parents into a new world of learning. Sister Donna Marie has also served on numerous Boards in the Danville area. Besides being a teacher and administrator, through the years she has been a drama and musical director, and artist.
Dr. Magdalen Benish was the recipient of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Ecumenism. Dr. Benish has been a lifetime volunteer. At her parish of St. André Bessette in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., she serves in a variety of capacities. She is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion both in her parish and at Geisinger Medical Center South as well a home visitor to the elderly. She is active in social concerns, and is active in many organizations. She was also instrumental in establishing a museum at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, honoring the scientific contributions of Rev. Joseph Murgas.
Dr. Greg Burke was the recipient of the Father Matthew Jankola Lifetime Servant Leadership Award for Elder Care. Dr. Burke has been practicing medicine for 29 years and is Medical Director of Emmanuel Center in Danville. He is a member of the Catholic Medical Association and authored a comprehensive examination of conscience for physicians, which he previously published, and about which he gave a presentation at the 2016 CMA annual conference in Washington, D.C. At Geisinger Medical Center, Dr. Burke is the lead patient experience director.
For more information about the Sisters of Saints Cyril and Methodius, visit http://www.sscm.org/.