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Two diocesan parishioners chosen as recipients of 2013 Salt & Light awards 

The Catholic Accent file photo

By Elizabeth Fazzini
Assistant Editor

GREENSBURG — Parishioners from Lower Burrell and Greensburg will be honored at the 15th annual Communities of Salt and Light Awards dinner at Stratigos Banquet Centre, North Huntingdon, April 25.

John Kane, a parishioner of St. Margaret Mary Parish, Lower Burrell, will receive the Salt and Light humanitarianism award.

Rocco Panucci, a parishioner of Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensburg, will receive the Salt and Light philanthropy award.

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput will be a special guest at this year’s dinner and will receive an outstanding leadership award.

Recipients of the humanitarianism and philanthropy awards demonstrate a commitment to Catholic Charities mission statement, exhibit Gospel-centered motives, advocate for systemic change, and serve the marginalized and vulnerable. Each has a connection to the salt and light theology, which includes preservation of families; inclusivity among races and cultures; clear moral vision and effective action; pursuit of peace; and protection of lives.

Awardees are nominated each year by people in the diocese.

Kane has provided leadership and support for an array of community organizations for nearly two decades. He’s served his parish in multiple capacities, such as coordinator of ministry, pastoral council member and a campaign leader for "Today’s Challenge ~ Tomorrow’s Hope," the capital and endowment campaign for the Diocese of Greensburg. He’s also served as a planning facilitator for multiple projects in both the community and parish.

Panucci lends expertise in finance and management to both the Catholic Charities board and his parish finance council. He served as a parish stewardship leader for the diocesan capital and endowment campaign and is a generous supporter of Catholic Charities and the diocese. He also serves as a lector and as an altar server and sacristan for daily Mass at his parish.

Bishop Lawrence E. Brandt will present the awards at the dinner, and Msgr. Raymond E. Riffle, managing director of Catholic Charities, will serve as master of ceremonies.

"This event is not only a wonderful way to applaud the inherent goodness and selfless giving of people in our diocese, it is an effective way to directly support the individuals throughout our diocese who are most in need of direct material assistance," Msgr. Riffle said.

The dinner traditionally nets more than $50,000, and 100 percent of the money is used to provide temporary, emergency assistance to people who need help with food and utility bills. Since the dinner’s inception, it has raised $818,000 to help more than 8,000 individuals and families in need in Armstrong, Fayette, Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

For more information, contact Judy Modecki, director of coordinated services and development at Catholic Charities, at 724-837-1840, ext. 1504.

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