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 | By Keishla Espinal

Honored for Outstanding Service

On Sunday, October 29th, over 500 attendees gathered at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle for the St. Jude Medal Award Ceremony.

Bishop Gregory Parkes told the award recipients, “In recognizing you for your outstanding exemplary service to your parish and the Church, you inspire others to do the same. Receive this recognition today with our gratitude, as an expression of our thankfulness for all that you do to serve the Church, and pray that others in your parish community may also be inspired to greater service and a greater ministry to God's faithful.”

The St. Jude Medal Award Ceremony is a time when parishioners, clergy, and religious gather to recognize the recipients of the annual St. Jude the Apostle Medal. This award is presented to individuals and couples from each of our parishes for their distinguished and outstanding service to their home parish.

“Those who are to receive these awards today have certainly fulfilled the calling that you received to participate in ministry and service to your parish, not for your glory, but in service to Jesus Christ, to your parish, and this Diocese,” said Bishop Parkes.

Rose-Mary and Joe Grasso, parishioners at St. Paul Catholic Church, in St. Petersburg, were among the 2023 recipients.

The Grassos have served meals every Sunday at the St. Paul Life Teen Youth Group gathering for the last five years.

Rose-Mary recounted, "I recalled seeing an advertisement in the bulletin and contemplating, 'Is this something I want to do?' I decided we should lend our assistance." While Rose-Mary handles most of the cooking, Joe takes care of getting all the necessary supplies to ensure the kids have a nourishing meal.

“When I was a child, I was an orphan until my parents adopted me,” said Rose-Mary.

“Life was difficult, but I remember attending church and being safe. I want these kids to know they are always safe returning to church,” said Rose-Mary.

When the Grassos heard they were receiving the award they were not expecting it.  

“I was in shock, I still can’t believe it,” said Joe. “Did not expect it at all,” added Rose-Mary.

Additionally, they are *not* the only members of their family to receive the St. Jude the Apostle Medal.

In 2000, Walter Haines, Rose-Mary’s father, received the award from Light of Christ Parish in Clearwater. In 2003, Pete Grasso, Joe’s father, received the award from the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle.

Rose-Mary stated, “What we do, we do it for the children, and like people always say, ‘If you want to stay young. Stay around the youth.’”

To view a list of all the award recipients click here.

For the photos from the ceremony click the arrows below.

2023 St. Jude Medals Presentation