They’re the unsung heroes of the parish.

They’re the dedicated volunteers who are first to respond when the church or school needs help hosting an event. They’re the first to arrive and last to leave, working quietly behind the scenes so celebrations go smoothly.

They’re also the lectors, ushers, and singers. They serve on the building committee, visit shut-ins, organize the Christmas pageant, do maintenance around the church, lead Bible studies, decorate the altar, and count the Sunday collection.

The Archdiocese of Vancouver wants to recognize the men and women who our parishes, schools, and organizations couldn’t do without but who rarely get recognized – those members of the laity who provide dedicated service to their parishes or the archdiocesan Church.

Nominations are being accepted for the Stewardship Awards, given every three years to recipients who exemplify lives of gratitude and generosity while living out our Archdiocesan Priorities and Goals.

In 2015, Archbishop Miller recognized a total of 37 faithful stewards and longtime volunteers, among them Lilia Ceres, the first person to be posthumously honoured as a faithful servant in the archdiocese. She served her parish for 20 years but died before she could receive her award. Ceres was a member of the Legion of Mary, a PREP teacher, a lector, and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion at St. Patrick’s Parish. She also served in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and volunteered in the parish office.

Then there were Nathan and Marge Degrano, of Holy Trinity Parish in North Vancouver. Leaders in the Filipino community, they were honoured for their active support of parish and school, organizing fundraisers, distributing Communion, coordinating Project Advance, and serving on the parish council.

There was also Robert Hickson, of Christ the Redeemer, West Vancouver, who received a Stewardship Award for his contribution to the liturgical life of the parish, from opening the church and preparing it for Mass each morning, to planning liturgies, assisting with rehearsals, training altar servers and sacristans, and accompanying the assistant pastor on drives to Queen of Peace monastery for Mass.

And Antoinette Knight, who was involved in music ministry for 65 years as choir director and accompanist, from Chilliwack to Powell River. Her volunteer service included volunteer teaching, contributing to the CWL, providing music at funerals and for seniors in extended care, serving as a lector, and helping with the parish gardening.

The list is lengthy, and you can read all about the previous recipients here. We hope they inspire you to nominate someone you know who has been a dedicated volunteer and unsung hero for years.

Please submit your nominations to by Oct. 19. Awards will be presented at Mass on the Feast of Christ the King, Sunday, Nov. 25, at 2:30 p.m. at Holy Rosary Cathedral, Vancouver. All are invited to attend. For more information, contact [email protected].