Sandy and John Riley Honored by the Archdiocese of Hartford
Last Winter, Saint Anthony Church parishioners, Sandy and John Riley were chosen to receive the Saint Joseph Archdiocesan Medal of Appreciation for their extraordinary volunteer work for the church. Normally, Archbishop Blair presents the award at a special mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford every March. Due to the closing of churches for Covid 19, the event did not occur. Last Month Father Gregory, Pastor of Saint Anthony Church, presented the Medal to the Rileys during Sunday Mass.
Father Gregory is pleased that Sandy and John are the recipients as they are incredibly involved in the parish and, as a couple, they effortlessly exemplify stewardship. “They are both dedicated to St. Anthony Church, their fellow parishioners, and in following our Mission Statement to actively minister to people and share the joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing your Time, Talent and Treasure!”
All pandemics aside, John and Sandy continue to be a vibrant part of St Anthony Parish! They have four children, Christina (William) Herrity of Naugatuck, Patrick (Darcy Wasserback) of Prospect, Michael (Eileen Keane) of Waterbury and Timothy of Prospect; seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
“While we are honored to be receiving this medal, we are also humbled. We have always been more comfortable flying under the radar, not looking for recognition for what we do. Receiving it as a couple gives us a sense that even though we are a couple, we are one.”
The couple have been married since May 2, 1964 have been parishioners at St. Anthony for 47 years! When they first moved to Prospect and registered at St. Anthony, they knew they needed to give back. Their children were young and attended religious education at the church and that is how they began getting involved. “Being part of our Church was an important part of our lives so little by little we immersed ourselves into being a part of different ministries.
Immersed is a perfect word to describe the current list ministries they are part of:
John is an EMHC, Reader, and Collection Counter for weekend Masses. When Bingo is occurring, he in charge of sealed ticket sales on Monday nights and lastly, he is an officer in the Knights of Columbus with various duties.
Sandy is a Collection Counter as well. When Bingo is occurring, she also volunteers by baking cakes or cookies for sale in kitchen every week and by preparing Sealed Tickets for sale. Sandy is also a Ladies Guild Member and makes amazing baked goods for many parish functions as well! It is safe to say that John and Sandy devote many hours to our Parish on weekly basis.
Additionally, in their “free time” the couple volunteers in our community. They are the blood drive coordinators for the Prospect Community Blood Drive held 6 times a year at the firehouse and have also been volunteers at The Palace Theater in Waterbury for 15 years.
When asked about the experiences they have had volunteering and being involved in our parish community they provided the following statement:
“We think one of the most rewarding experiences we have is the wonderful, caring, generous people who attend St. Anthony that we have come to know through our participation in our ministries. We continue to grow in our commitment through the encouragement we receive from our Parish Family.
One of the most difficult is looking at all the people who stand back and don’t realize the wonderful gifts they have to offer and what they are missing by not being involved. We firmly believe that we receive far more than we give.
We believe that volunteering has helped us grow, in our faith, in our commitment to one another and in the eyes of our children to whom we hopefully have set a good example.”
The Saint Anthony Parish family is deeply thankful to John and Sandy Riley. Their dedication and commitment to our parish is what sustains us daily.