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Meet the 2019 Steward of the Year Nominees

June 10, 2019

For the second year in a row, the Foundation asked for nominations of people from our Catholic community who actively demonstrate exemplary lives of prayer, service, and giving at their parish and was honored to receive inspiring stories from across the Diocese. The 2019 Steward of the Year will receive two complimentary tickets to the 13th Annual Foundation of Faith Dinner: When We Sing, We Pray Twice with Catholic singer songwriter Matt Maher on Thursday, September 19, 2019 at the El Paso Convention Center, and dinner for two at a local restaurant. The winning parish will win a cash prize of $1,000. 

Meet the 2019 Steward of the Year Nominees!

Cristo Rey Parish
Estefania Gonzales is one of the few living founders of Mt. Cristy Rey Parish, instrumental in the building of the church from 1970-1973. At the age of 81, she continues today as the president of the Mt. Cristo Rey Parish Altar Society, serving continuously since the church was built over 48 years ago. For over 40 years, Mrs. Gonzales has dedicated her service to also unlock the church doors every Sunday morning at 6:00 am and jokes about beating the church administrator to open the doors to the faithful.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish
Carmen Lopez is truly a woman of faith who is willing to go the extra mile not only for a parishioner, but for any one in need of help. She is a Lector, Eucharistic Minister, and involved with a parish group that provides a weekly meal to immigrants. Carmelita, as she's affectionately known, has made the parish kitchen her home away from home. She invites people to the parish hall to enjoy gorditas and specialty plates after all of the Sunday Masses. 

Sacred Heart Church
For almost 20 years, Lencho Garcia has shared his musical talents at the 8:00am Mass at Sacred Heart Church in the Segundo Barrio. He also makes himself available during any other Mass times that need a choir. Not only does Lencho sing and play guitar, but he has written many of his own deeply touching songs in the “Juarence style.” The parish is located a block and a half from the border and many Juarez residents come to the 8:00am Mass. They don't just attend for the Eucharist and the Jesuit homilies, but also for Lencho’s heartwarming and faith-inspired songs.  

San Antonio de Padua Parish 
Griselda Guzman demonstrated extraordinary compassion during an emergency when an immigrant father was admitted to the hospital for treatment and his young son was going to be left at the parish hall without a parent or returned to a detention center. Mrs. Guzman volunteered to care for the child and received permission to take him into the home she shares with her two sons and her husband, a truckdriver who is gone most weekdays. She cared for the child for five weeks while awaiting the release of the boy’s father and continued taking care of her family and ministering every day to refugees in the parish center.

San Elceario Parish 
Ana Maria Acosta is one of the faithful and helpful parishioners at San Elceario Parish. She is dedicated to her ministry and always ready to serve and care for others. Anita is currently helping the Diocese serve our immigrant brothers and sisters and coordinates a migrant youth group at the parish to feed and evangelize to asylum seekers.  

San Lorenzo Parish
Frances Vargas is a lady of deep faith. She has served various ministries, including catechesis, assembly of prayer, and minister of communion for more than thirty years, attends daily Mass, prays the holy rosary in the Church and is generous and responsible in her financial giving. She always responds with a positive attitude to pastoral projects and is a woman of prayer during all pastoral activities or retreats.

San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado Mission
Omar Ontiveros and his wife, Ana, have four beautiful children and are all involved in ministries at San Pedro de Jesus Maldonado. Omar is an engineer and Ana is an elementary school teacher. Omar who works from home, is more visible during the week. He frequently brings the youngest children to daily Mass and is engaged with them in teaching them how to behave, but most importantly to pay attention to what is happening during Mass. Fr. Saul Pacheco asked Omar if he would be able to build crosses for the Way of the Cross on Good Friday and he immediately said yes and involved the whole family. His oldest son, Santiago, built a cross on his own while his parents were in a meeting and donated it to the mission. It now sits in the parish garden. Father is convinced that he learned this from Omar’s example.

Santa Teresa Catholic Church – Ft. Hancock 
Humberto Macias helps Santa Teresa Church in every way imaginable. Whether it’s patching and painting walls, uncovering frayed electrical wires, traveling to El Paso to search out and collect donated used pipes and setting them up, or closing up the streets, hauling large trash containers, stretching out tarps for shade, cooking hamburgers and taquitos for Santa Teresita's Annual Fiesta, Humberto is always there. He prepares the air conditioners for summer and heaters for winter and regularly coordinates help for the needy to fix ceilings, find clothing, food and blankets. He is a man of great compassion and wholly dedicated to serving others. 

St. Mark Parish 
Judy DeHaro is  best exemplifies the theological notion of time, talent and treasure. She serves faithfully as an extraordinary minister of communion, lector, ACTS retreat coordinator, sacristan, leads the Lenten Tenebrae service and chairs the parish’s finance committee. Judy does not speak Spanish but this has never been a barrier to her. She works at bringing people from different cultures together and finds ways to communicate. Because St. Mark Parish has a great devotion to our Blessed Mother of Guadalupe, Judy decided to visit the Guadalupe Basilica in Mexico City to learn more about her. She fell in love with the Blessed Mother and now she visits the Basilica at least four times a year. Judy helped with the shrine and the statue of Juan Diego as a gift of personal devotion. 

St. Mary's Catholic Church – Marfa
Elisa Vasquez has been a lifelong parishioner and volunteer at St. Mary's Catholic Church. Besides being a devoted mother and grandmother, Elisa is secretary, president of Our Lady of Guadalupe ministry, head of the bereavement ministry, and a lector. Elisa gave a moving testimony when she provided solace for a newly widowed parishioner who had not been kind to Elisa in the past. Elisa approached the grieving parishioner with other members of the ministry with a compassionate and honest appeal to pray for her. The invitation was accepted and they met for prayer on their established dates. Prayer and time allowed the parishioner to a healing process and their relationship was restored.

For more information, please contact Stewardship Coordinator Karina Sandoval at ksandoval@elpasodiocese.org or 915-872-8412.


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