Some of us have such hard times remembering names.  It can take us more than a few occasions of being in someone’s presence to remember their names.  Recognizing a person’s name though can be so much more than an etiquette issue.  For when we say a person’s name it recognizes that they are not just another person in the crowd.   Each person is an individual with individual gifts.   Each person deserves the same respect because indeed they are made in the image and likeness of God who bestowed on them their individual gifts.  None should be seen as greater than the other, but equal as human persons created in the divine image.  And so we respect each person by recognizing them by name.

We hear in the Gospel of St. Luke in the choosing of the twelve, they are mentioned each by name: Simon, and Andrew and James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas the Son of James and Judas Isacariot, who would become the traitor. It doesn’t say that Jesus just choose twelve random people, but they were twelve distinct individuals, each called by their name.   His relationship with each of them and with each of us is not random but very specific because he calls us by name.

We can just think of the relationship between expectant parents and their child in the womb.  In their excitement they start thinking of possible names and soon narrow down their choices.  Often they speak to the child by name in the womb.  The relationship is so unique, and made so by the dignity of the name of each human person.

During the month of October, the Diocese, through the Office of Faith Formation, had the opportunity to celebrate and recognize over 800 individuals from over seventy-five of our parishes from across the Diocese who have served as catechists, both in our children’s programs and in a variety of other catechetical ministries, including marriage prep, RCIA. Etc.  This took place at three different ceremonies, one at the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton, at St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Centre and at SS. Cyril and Methodius in Deer Park.  Catechists who have been serving for anywhere from five years to sixty years where called by name to be recognized.  Each likely felt uncomfortable having their names called in public because all they wanted to do during their years of service was to serve.  They serve because of their own individual encounter with Christ who called them each by name.  Let this be an opportunity for each of us to hear him call our names.

Some scenes from each award ceremony: