On Sunday, March 12, at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, four members of the Saint Raphael Academy community will be honored with Catholic Youth Ministry Awards from the Diocese of Providence. Three seniors—Julia Hurley, Emma Mendes and Kaleigh Poirier—will be presented with the St. Timothy Award, and one faculty member, Mrs. Kristen Murphy, will receive the Companions on the Journey Award.

Saint Raphael Academy chaplain Rev. Carl Fissette with St. Timothy award winners Kaleigh Poirier, Julia Hurley and Emma Mendes, and Companions on the Journey award winner Kristen Murphy.

The St. Timothy Award is the highest national youth ministry award a Catholic youth can receive. It is awarded based on nominations that detail the youth’s integrity, leadership and service. Each organization is allowed to nominate one person for each award.

Julia, was nominated by Saint Raphael Academy, most notably for her volunteer work at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, where she is a well-known face. “She not only recognizes the needs of others but also acts upon these needs. Her countless hours at the soup kitchen and dedication to Lasallian Youth program are inspiring,” said Mr. Steve Vargas, pastoral services director, of the Academy’s nominee.

Julia also runs on the Saints cross country and indoor track teams, and is an avid figure skater. She is a member and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at St. Margaret Church in Rumford.

Saint Raphael Academy’s other nominee, Mrs. Murphy, will receive the Companions on the Journey Award, which is the highest National Federation of Catholic Youth Ministry adult award for excellence in youth ministry. Mrs. Murphy is a graduate of the Class of 2002 and has been teaching foreign language at the Academy for 10 years. She was selected by the Academy for her dedication to youth not only as a teacher, but as a volunteer adviser for the Lasallian Youth program, a volunteer and co-organizer of the annual ECHO retreat, and a supportive and nurturing role model for students in their learning and Catholic values. Mrs. Murphy is a member of St. Theresa’s parish in Pawtucket.

She said she was very surprised when she found out she had won the award, and explained that she was inspired by her teachers while she was a student at the Academy, and continues to be inspired by them as their colleague. Mrs. Murphy hopes to continue to attract more student involvement in Lasallian Youth and to help students grow in their faith and service to community.

The Academy was thrilled to learn that other organizations had selected two more of its students for the St. Timothy Award. Kaleigh was nominated by the staff at Rejoice in Hope Youth Center for her countless hours of volunteering there, helping to conduct retreats, prayer groups, and the annual Haunted Labyrinth. Kaleigh is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion at her church, St. Joseph’s Church in Pascoag, as well as at school Masses. She is also an active member of the Girl Scouts and was the recipient of SRA’s Lasallian Youth Award for the last three years.

“All of her activities and involvements are centered around her faith in some way, usually serving others, whether at school, at the center and at her parish.  Her quiet presence is a calming gift of God’s peace to all who know her,” said Pat Kane, director of the Rejoice in Hope Center.

Emma was chosen by the Rev. Mark Sauriol of St. Edward’s Church for her dedication to the parish as an altar server and trainer, an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and a peer minister. In addition, she often participates in service trips over April school break. She is also captain of the Saints girls soccer team, volunteers to teach dance to younger students at a dance studio and has participated in a walk for ovarian cancer for the last four years.

Similarly, the girls are all active members of Lasallian Youth at SRA, helping with several community service projects like peer ministry, the “senior prom” at St. Germain Manor, a February vacation camp at Prospect Heights, and volunteering at local organizations like the Darlington Assisted Living and Heritage Park YMCA. Additionally, they are honor roll students, and members of the National Honor Society and Moore Scholars program at the Academy. All have also been involved in the Academy’s drama productions, both on stage and behind-the-scenes.

The SRA community and friends are invited to attend the awards ceremony on Sunday, March 12, at 1 pm at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence.


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