Annually, the SS. Isidore and Maria Parish Faith Formation Office confers a Distinguished Service Award on one of our parish’s catechists. This recognizes the service of catechists who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to their ministry over a significant period of time. Recipients have devoted personal attention to each young person they have worked with, shown a consistent fidelity to the teachings of our Church, and been a role models of discipleship and self-giving.

We are pleased to announce that Mr. James Bedard has been named as this year’s recipient of our Distinguished Service Award. Jim has served as a catechist to various grade levels over nearly twenty years, most recently in our Confirmation Program. A native of Enfield, Jim is a graduate of Western New England University (BA, MBA) and presently a CFO at United Healthcare. He grew up with many strong Catholic role models. Nuns were his own catechists in the faith during his period of Catholic schooling, and Sister Sheila at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Enfield stood out as a mentor. She and others influenced Jim’s desire to become a catechist to his own children — Matthew, Michelle and Steven — and he found he enjoyed sharing his faith so much that he has continued in the ministry long after his children were confirmed. Jim is a believer in applying his faith practically in everyday life at home, church, work, and in the community. He has become a strong role model to others and continually seeks to grow in his faith.

Especially in these times of social distancing and online catechesis, it is valuable to keep in mind the vital work all our catechists continue to do. Thank you, Jim, for offering all of us such a vivid example of the catechetical ministry, and thank you for all the work you have done and continue to do with our young people.