October 27, 2017

Longtime volunteer turns the spotlight to others

By John Shaughnessy

Frank SergiIt’s telling that just shortly before Frank Sergi received the highest honor from the archdiocese’s Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), he was in another part of Indianapolis presenting kickball trophies to two girls’ teams.

It’s also revealing that he spent extra time with the girls, telling them, “Fifty years from now, you’re going to talk to one of your grade school friends, and you’ll be sharing a fond memory of kickball.”

Both realities reflect what Sergi’s many admirers believe: He always puts the kids before himself.

That approach represents the essence of his 40-year commitment as a volunteer to CYO. Yet he naturally turns the spotlight away from himself, instead focusing on all the people he has met through CYO, starting back in the 1960s when he played football, basketball and baseball at the former St. Bernadette Parish in Indianapolis.

“I just saw so many people give so much of their time,” says the father of three and the grandfather of two. “I saw the calling that people had for it. They checked their egos at the door. They just wanted to do it for the kids. They wanted to serve. They wanted to help a young person grow up and be a good Christian who cared about people.”

Again, many people would see that as a perfect description of Sergi. Again, his attention turns to someone else when he is asked why he continues to serve after four decades of dedication. He talks about his wife of 37 years, Trish, who died in 2016.

“I always wanted to stay a part of it, and my wife was always supportive of it,” says Sergi, a member of Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Parish in Indianapolis. “She coached kickball at Nativity. She was a dedicated special education teacher.”

A short while later, he turns the conversation back to the children and youths who participate in CYO today, and the joy he will have in presenting more trophies to teams in kickball, football and cross country this autumn.

“I feel that the core of our faith is to serve others. God wants us to help and serve others.”

In never talking about himself, he says so much about his life. †


Related story: Archbishop salutes CYO honorees and ‘teams’ that support them

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