Bishop John M. LeVoir will present the 2012 Diocesan Distinguished Service Award to five Catholics of the Diocese of New Ulm following the ninth annual Bishop Lucker Lecture at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 18, at the Church of St. Catherine in Redwood Falls. This year's lecture presenter will be Jim Ennis, executive director of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, an 88-year old non-profit organization serving the rural church, rural people and their communities throughout the United States through education and advocacy assistance.
In his talk, "Sowing Seeds of Hope in a Distracted World," Ennis will outline some of the challenges rural communities are facing and how ordinary, everyday Catholics can respond to them.
The public is invited to attend both the lecture and award ceremony free of charge. A reception will follow the award presentation.
The Diocesan Distinguished Service Award recognizes committed service and outstanding contribution to the Diocese of New Ulm's mission and ministry. The 2012 recipients are:
The Rev. Bernard "Bernie" Steiner has been a priest of the Diocese of New Ulm for 51 years. A 1952 graduate of Holy Trinity (now Cathedral) High School in New Ulm, Steiner went on to study for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Alphonse J. Schladweiler on Feb. 19, 1961. Since his ordination, he has served at more than 20 parishes in the diocese. From 1990 to 2002, Steiner served on the Diocesan Finance Council. His administrative skills and background with finances helped the diocese shape its budget and make sound fiscal decisions. He has been a member of the Way of the Cross Committee since 2000, helping ensure that the historic landmark remains a place of pilgrimage for future generations. Steiner has been actively involved in the Worldwide Marriage Encounter program since 1995. He continues to be a presenter and has served on its board of directors on the local and national level. Even in his retirement, Steiner continues to help the diocese. Since 2009 he has been the senior priest representative on the Priests' Council, and since 2010 he has been a member of the Diocesan Ministries Appeal Committee. Steiner currently resides in New Ulm.
Sister Vivian Petersen, OSB, has had a presence in the Diocese of New Ulm for more than 40 years. After making her perpetual profession with the Benedictine Sisters of Crookston in 1956, she spent the next 30 years in Catholic education, serving as a teacher and as a principal in the Diocese of New Ulm, the Diocese of Crookston, and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Petersen began serving as pastoral administrator of the Church of St. James in Dawson in 1993. In the midst of her many parish duties, she has found the time to serve on a number of diocesan committees. In 2007, she was asked by then-Bishop John C. Nienstedt to serve on the newly created Admissions and Scrutinies Committee for the Permanent Diaconate. Since 2009 she has served as the pastoral administrator representative to the diocese's Committee on Parishes, the committee that has been developing the Fourth Plan for Parishes. She has also been a member of the "Christ our Life" Capital Campaign Executive Committee since 2010.
Roger and Deborah Schroeder have been married for 18 years. Since 2000 they have been presenters for the diocesan Marriage Preparation Program. While most presenters volunteer at one event per year, the Schroeders regularly serve at two. They have helped hundreds of engaged couples prepare for marriage, focusing especially on communication, intimacy, and resolving conflict. They have also been team members at Riverbend T.E.C. (Together Encounter Christ) retreats. Deborah served at several in 2008, and they both worked at one in 2011. Between work and caring for their seven children, the Schroeders find time to volunteer at their parish, the Church of the Holy Redeemer in Marshall. They are facilitators for small faith sharing groups, have helped lead Emmaus retreats, and are involved in music ministry. In addition, she was the parish's youth minister from 1994 to 1997, and he has been a faith formation catechist.
Mary Ellen Domeier is a life-long member of the Church of St. Mary in New Ulm. She worked for 30 years at Frandsen Bank and Trust in New Ulm, 15 of them as its CEO. Her professional experience has been a valuable asset for the Diocese of New Ulm. She has served on the Diocesan Ministries Appeal Committee since its creation in 2006, as well as on the "Christ our Life" Capital Campaign Executive Committee since 2010. In addition, she has served on the Admissions and Scrutinies Committee for the Permanent Diaconate since 2007, and from 2006 to 2007 she was a member of the diocesan Plan for Catholic Schools Committee. Domeier also puts her talents to use for her home parish. From 2004 to 2006 she served as the executive officer of the New Ulm Area Catholic Schools board of directors. She has been a member of St. Mary's finance committee and pastoral council, and she currently serves on St. Mary's parish administrative council and stewardship committee.
For further information about the Bishop Lucker Lecture, contact the Diocese of New Ulm, 507-359-2966; firstname.lastname@example.org.