Van Buren: Engaging the parish

Every spring for the last several years, members of the St. Augustine's Roman Catholic Church on O'Brien Road in Baldwinsville have offered up nominations to honor one parishioner.

This year, Judy Carr, of Tipperary Hill, was honored on behalf of the nominating committee and the Sisters of St. Joseph with the Sr. Pat Geary Christian Service Award during Mass on Sunday March 20.

"I'm not often at a loss for words," Carr said when receiving the large framed plaque.

While Carr never had the opportunity to meet Geary, she said she knows many stories about her, as do most other parishioners.

"I was very surprised I was nominated. I was very humbled," Carr said. "This is just such a great community. These people are doers."

Geary, who has been called intelligent and down to earth, died in 1998 after battling cancer but continues to be remembered by those she once served.

"She was totally committed to this parish," said Sr. Ellen Lindsley, who presented the award to Carr.

According to Lindsley, if Geary were still living, she would be celebrating her 58th anniversary in 2011 as a Sister of St. Joseph.

"It is a tribute to her ministry that this award continues to be presented," Lindsley said. "During her time, she challenged us to use our gifts to live the call of the gospel for service. Sr. Pat, as has been said many times, loved this parish and its parishioners."

Her love of the parish continues to be recognized through four different ministries she had a hand in starting - Parish Life and Worship, Parish Outreach, Spiritual Development and Stewardship.

"The last three years of her life, she had cancer. But that did not deter her," Lindsley said.

Instead, Geary's love for the St. Augustine's community flourished and she spearheaded efforts to build a gathering room to support a variety of functions.

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