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2019 Champions of Catholic Faith

MSGR. PERRON AUVE - Special Honoree

is presented to an individual who has dedicated time, talent and treasure to Catholic education.

Auve Fav Crop COF 2019

Msgr. Auve is honored for being a guiding light for Catholic education for 57 years as a priest of the Yakima Diocese. Msgr. Auve was ordained on May 19, 1962 by Bishop Joseph Dougherty at St. Paul Cathedral Parish.  His first assignment was to teach at Yakima Central Catholic High School. Fr. Auve served as Headmaster of Yakima Central High School and Principal of Carroll High School.  He was assigned to Holy Family Parish in Yakima as well as St. Andrew Parish in Ellensburg in addition to several years as Chancellor of the Diocese. For six years, Msgr. Auve served as Spiritual Director at Mount Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, until he was called back to shepherd the people of Holy Spirit Parish where he has served since 2007.

“Faith is the gift God gives so that we can follow Jesus. How do I know what to believe and how to follow Jesus? By education in the faith. Catholic education in the faith is key for everyone who wants to follow Jesus.”
-Msgr. Auve

KATIE PITZER - The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award

is presented to those who have dedicated their time, talent and treasure to religious education, faith formation and RCIA programs in their parishes.

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Katie Pitzer is honored for her 30 years of volunteer work in religious education programs and music ministry. Katie serves as Music Director, Religious Education Director, and religious education teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Selah.

Katie’s favorite Scripture passage is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

SHAWN EXNER - The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award

is presented to those who have dedicated their time, talent and treasure to religious education, faith formation and RCIA programs in their parishes.

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Shawn Exner is honored for his work with youth ministry at St. Paul Cathedral Parish in Yakima. Shawn came to Yakima in 1999 as part of the REACH ministry program. For the last 20 years, Shawn has led the youth of St. Paul Cathedral Parish to Christ through the LIFETEEN Youth Ministry, Spy EDGE Middle School Ministry, and the Confirmation program.

“Passing our Catholic Faith on to our young people is a vital part of our local and universal Church. Whether they come for Sacramental preparation or community, they will find a God who loves them, forgives them and brings them healing.”
-Shawn Exner

DANETTE HESTER - The Elizabeth Ann Seton Award

is presented to those who have dedicated their time, talent and treasure to religious education, faith formation and RCIA programs in their parishes.

Hester Fav Crop COF 2019

Danette Hester is honored for her work in supporting faith education for both children and adults at St. Joseph Parish in Kennewick. Danette was baptized in the faith at Holy  Rosary Parish and rooted in the rich Catholic family soil of Moxee as a hop farmer’s daughter. She has used her Catholic education and upbringing for the past thirty years as the RCIA Director at St. Joseph Parish in Kennewick, St. Joseph Middle School religion teacher, and parish religious education Catechist.

Her favorite quote is from St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, “We cultivate a very small field for Christ but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements, but a heart that holds back nothing for self.”

BOB FERGUSON - The St. Thomas Aquinas Award

is presented to an individual who has been a major benefactor of Catholic education in Central Washington.

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Bob Ferguson is honored for his financial support of Christ the King Parish and School in Richland. While Bob’s wife Katie, who we honored posthumously as a Champion of Catholic Education last year, taught religion and other subjects at CK School, Bob was busy making it possible through his work as a nuclear physicist with the Department of Energy. Bob and Katie have been very generous benefactors of Christ the King Parish and School and Tri-Cities Prep.

“Catholic education supports the complete child – intellectually and spiritually – and strives for each person to be a witness of Christ’s love.”
-Bob Ferguson

TIM MCGREE - The St. Thomas Aquinas Award

is presented to an individual who has been a major benefactor of Catholic education in Central Washington.

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Tim McGree is honored for his 25 years overseeing the education of students at La Salle High School. Tim is was one of the movers and shakers who started La Salle High School in Union Gap in 1998 and has worked tirelessly ever since to keep the doors and opportunities open to any student who wishes to receive a Lasallian education, regardless of their financial ability.

Tim declares, “The work of Catholic education and the students who have been entrusted to us are some of the most important and most necessary services and members of the Church.”

SHEILA GEPHART - The St. John Baptist De La Salle Award

is presented to an individual who has been a major benefactor of Catholic education in Central Washington.

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Sheila Gephart is honored for her work at Christ the King School in Richland. She taught K-8 music at Christ the King Catholic School in Richland for fourteen years. Sheila retired from CK last spring and continues working part-time teaching K-5 music at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Kennewick.

“My greatest passion is helping students to discover their God-given gifts and teaching them to share those gifts with others.”
-Sheila Gephart

MISSIONARY DAUGHTERS OF THE MOST PURE VIRGIN MARY -
The St. John Baptist De La Salle Award

is presented to an individual who has been a major benefactor of Catholic education in Central Washington.

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The Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary are honored for their work in parishes and schools in the Yakima Diocese for the past 56 years. In 1963, the sisters began teaching at St. Joseph School in Sunnyside. They stayed long after the school closed, teaching religious education and serving the migrant population. In the 1980’s, a group of sisters was sent to St. Joseph School in Wenatchee where they taught until the end of the 2018-19 school year.
Nominator Rick Pinnell says, “These sisters have devoted their lives to God and share that love through education. The Missionary Daughters have been a blessing to our Diocese, our schools, the students, and the parishes in which they have served. Their smiles and love of God’s blessing has enriched our lives and our Church. They will be missed.”
The sisters were presented with the Champion of Catholic Education Award in July during their sendoff celebration in Wenatchee.

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Whose Praises Do You Want To Sing?

Who is inspiring the youth in your parish?
Who is the first to come to school and the last to leave?
Who do you know that is living their faith generously in their support of Catholic Education?