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Two members of the Saint Raphael Academy community will be honored this weekend at the Catholic Youth Ministry and Scout Awards Celebration at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul.  Senior Daniel Arteaga will receive the St. Timothy Award and faculty member Steve Vargas will receive the Companions on the Journey Award.  The awards are National Federation of Youth Ministry Awards given to those who demonstrate leadership within the various youth communities and embody their faith. Nancy Benoit and Rita Pratt of the Pastoral Services Office at Saint Raphael Academy nominated Daniel and Steve.

The St. Timothy Award is given to a Catholic youth who lives life as a disciple of Christ, sets a positive example to other youth, exhibits Catholic morals and values, service to others, and exhibits Christian leadership in parish, school and/or community settings.  At Saint Raphael Academy, Daniel is a leader in the Lasallian Youth Program, and encourages his peers to participate in community service opportunities.  He has helped with the Annual Senior Citizen Prom at St. Germain Manor and lead February school vacation camp for children who live in the Prospect Heights Housing Complex, both in Pawtucket.  He has also been on the leadership team for the Annual Catholic High School Homeless Sleep Out all four years of high school.

In the greater community, Daniel regularly volunteers at the Pawtucket Soup Kitchen, Agnes Little School, and Darlington Assisted Living.  He has also participated in service trips during school vacations to San Miguel School in Freeport, Long Island.  Daniel was also nominated for the award by his parish, Saint John Paul II Parish in Pawtucket.

The Companions on the Journey Award is considered the highest adult recognition from the Catholic youth ministry.  Steve Vargas was nominated for his commitment to youth and on-going education and formation, excellence in youth ministry, longevity in the ministry, and outstanding leadership at the local and/or diocesan level.  He is a theology teacher at Saint Raphael Academy, where he has taught for 10 years, and is also the senior class advisor and a volunteer football coach.

Beyond Saint Raphael, Steve works part-time at the Rejoice in Hope Youth Center in Cranston and has volunteered for the last 29 years in planning the organization’s famous Haunted Labyrinth.  For many summers, he worked at Mother of Hope Day Camp and still serves as a trainer on the Ropes Leadership Challenge Course there.  Nancy Benoit particularly credits his gifts of humor and compassion as his success in reaching out to youth.

The Mass and award ceremony will be at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul on Sunday, March 8, at 1 pm, with a procession of the award recipients at 12:45 pm.  All are invited to attend.


Editor’s note

Also recognized at the Cathedral was sophomore Kaleigh Poirier, a Girl Scout who earned the Service to God Award, a recognition of Girl Scouts who earn all four national Catholic religious scouting awards.


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