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Couples, woman receive Legacy of Faith Catholic Service Award

From the Diocese of Marquette

MARQUETTE — Two couples from Marquette and a woman from Ontonagon have been selected to receive the 2019 Legacy of Faith Catholic Service Award. The recipients are Bob and Sandy Jurkovich of St. Peter Cathedral; Sally Luft and her deceased husband, Cliff, of St. Michael Parish; and Doreen Parker of Holy Family Parish.

Shortly after moving to Marquette years ago, Bob and Sandy Jurkovich joined the Young Families Club at St. Peter Cathedral and became an inspiration to many, including Laurie Schmit, who nominated them for this award. Schmit said Bob currently chairs the Diocesan Hospitality Committee, organized and oversaw the church picnic for over 20 years, is actively involved with the Knights of Columbus and is a member of the parish council.

In his letter of support for the nomination, Andrew Wasilewski noted that Bob had served as grand knight of the Knights’ Council 689 and brought up the idea that the council should help the community by cleaning up trash along U.S. 41.

“We are now responsible for a two-mile stretch that includes the Green Garden Hill,” Wasilewski said. He also wrote that Bob serves as an usher at church and the coordinator for the Christian Families organization.

Schmit wrote, “Sandy taught religious education classes, provided games and crafts for the children at the picnic, works with Diocesan Hospitality Committee, is secretary for the Women Caring and Sharing (Altar Society), co-chairs the Funeral Committee, served as co-chair to update and modernize the kitchen to meet Marquette County health standards, brought back and organized the 2016 live reenactment of the Nativity by children in the parish and is an active member of the Bishop Baraga Association.”

In their letter of support for the nomination of the Lufts, Msgr. Jed Patrick wrote, “Cliff and Sally were truly a team in their ministry involvements in the diocese and the parish. Even in their many individual parish involvements, they were 100% supportive of each other.”

For example, they were graduates of the diocesan Lay Ministries Leadership School and earned master’s degrees from Loyola University of New Orleans through a diocesan extension program. They were co-directors of Catholic Campus Ministry at Northern Michigan University and served on the board of directors for the Marquette County Habitat for Humanity, with Cliff as president, and provided meals for the Room at the Inn homeless shelter. They served on St. Michael’s Christian Service Committee, with Sally as chairperson, and were team members for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults process.

After retiring as a public school superintendent, Cliff served as superintendent of the 10 Catholic schools in the diocese, president of St. Michael’s parish pastoral council, secretary of the parish Men’s Club and president of the North Menominee County Kiwanis Club. NMU honored him with an Alumni Achievement Award in 2010. In his final days, Cliff faced a fast-moving cancer. He died on Dec. 26, 2017.

Sally has served as associate director of the diocesan office of worship and lay ministries leadership school, pastoral associate at St. Michael and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mission in Palmer, coordinator of religious education programs and St. Vincent de Paul store volunteer.

At St. Michael, she’s served as Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Mass coordinator, Bible study leader, member of the Altar Society and Cursillo prayer group participant.

Music has been the mainstay of Parker’s service to her church and community for over 73 years. She began playing organ at Holy Family Parish as a young teenager. Until her retirement earlier this year, she continued to serve as accompanist for weekend, weekday and Holy Day Masses, funerals, weddings and nursing home Masses.

According to Bruce Johanson, the retired Ontonagon Area Schools’ bands and choral director, Parker gave freely of her time to travel with him to school music festivals and solo-ensemble events. She would accompany the young musicians in their competitions and encourage them in their musical efforts.

Catholic Service Award honorees are presented with a medallion and recognized at their local parish, as well as by the diocese at the Bishop’s Ambassadors annual dinner event. Their parishes receive a $250 grant for faith formation. To view short videos of the honorees online, visit www.youtube.com/theupcatholic.

The Catholic Service Award is a program of Legacy of Faith, an endowment fund of the Upper Peninsula Catholic Foundation. The award was created in 2006 in the spirit and intent of the endowment to preserve and foster the Catholic faith in the U.P. Nominations for the annual award are due by May 1 of each year. For more information, contact Terri Gadzinski at 906-227-9108 or visit www.LegacyofFaith.net.