November 4, 2011

Celebrating Catholic School Values

Awards honor people who use Catholic school values to make a difference

By John Shaughnessy

The archdiocese honored six individuals during the Celebrating Catholic School Values Awards Dinner on Oct. 26.

In praising the award winners, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne said, “Congratulations on being recognized but, more importantly, thank you for being a witness to others of what a good Catholic education can mean in your life, in your families and to society.”

This year’s Career Achievement Award winners are Eduardo Parada, Msgr. Joseph Riedman, Robert and Ann Steiner, Glenn Tebbe and Dr. Louis Wright.

“It’s the 16th year we’ve gathered together to honor a select group of individuals whose lives and achievements have exemplified Catholic school values to an exceptional degree,” said Harry Plummer, the archdiocese’s executive director of Catholic education and faith formation.

Eduardo Parada has never forgotten the example of his mother, who worked as a seamstress to send her six children to Catholic schools, and still found a way to help feed and clothe people in need.

A native of Colombia, Parada immigrated to the United States and eventually became a member of Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis in 1971. For the past 40 years, he has served as a valuable resource to the Hispanic community that has settled in the parish and on the city’s east side.

Parada has helped prepare Hispanic parishioners for the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, holy Communion and reconciliation. He also coordinates marriage preparation classes for engaged couples and provides counseling for married couples.

Msgr. Joseph Riedman was honored for his leadership and his dedication as a teacher, counselor and pastor during his 55 years as a priest.

Now retired to his hometown of Connersville, Msgr. Riedman was praised for his work as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Greenfield, where a building is named in his honor; at Our Lady of the Greenwood Parish in Greenwood, where he led the building of a new wing of the school and began plans for a new church; and at Holy Spirit Parish in Indianapolis, where he developed a successful ministry for Hispanics.

Msgr. Riedman was also recognized for his 17 years as a beloved math teacher, counselor and chaplain at Father Thomas Scecina Memorial High School in Indianapolis.

Robert and Ann (Funk) Steiner have made a tremendous impact on Catholic education in the New Albany Deanery and the archdiocese in two primary areas—improving access to a Catholic education for children with special needs and providing better opportunities for students whose passions are in the performing arts.

When their younger son, Tommy, was born with Down syndrome, Ann Steiner spent years attending workshops and writing grants to make it possible for Tommy and other children with special needs to attend Our Lady of Perpetual Help School in New Albany and Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville.

Bob Steiner led the capital campaign committee at Providence High School that raised more than $4.5 million for the Sam and Paula Robinson Performing Arts Center.

Glenn Tebbe was honored for his 40 years of serving the archdiocese and the Church in different roles, including his current position as executive director of the Indiana Catholic Conference—a role in which he serves as “the public policy voice of the five bishops of Indiana.”

He was a key player in the Indiana legislature’s passage this year of the school voucher program, an initiative that offers financial assistance to families of certain incomes to help them select a school of their choice for their children. Tebbe has also promoted the Church’s positions on helping the poor and immigrants.

A former principal of St. Mary School in Greensburg, Tebbe has also served as a member of the Greensburg City Council for 17 years, helping to bring a Honda Motor Co. factory to the city—a move that has led to about 2,000 jobs in southeast Indiana.

For Dr. Louis Wright, Catholic schools served as a refuge and a source of hope as he grew up in the tough streets of Chicago. They also provided the faith and persistence he needed to follow his dream of becoming a medical doctor.

Ever since, Wright has been offering that combination of faith, hope and help to his patients and fellow parishioners at St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis

Known for his acceptance of cultural and racial diversity, Wright serves his parish as a youth leader, lector, parish council member, altar server coordinator and extraordinary minister of holy Communion.

He also puts his faith to work in his medical career, emphasizing his care of geriatric patients and starting the sickle cell unit at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis for critically ill patients who suffer from that disease. †

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