ANDERSON, S.C. – Two parishioners of St. Mary of the Angels were honored last month with the Holy Name Province Francis Medal, recognizing their service and spirit. Both recipients – Donald Bader and Nanette Perron, OFS – have been active in the parish for as long as they have been members, said Aubrey McNeil, OFM, pastor, who described them as “generous with themselves and with their time.”
Don Bader, who is the parish’s daily sacristan – opening up the church and setting up for Mass – gives himself to “the friars, the parish, and to any parishioner who needs assistance,” according to Aubrey, who has led the parish since 2005.
“In the Bible Belt where Catholics are a very small minority and are not always appreciated, Don makes the Church and the friars known by his participation in Clean Start and Meals on Wheels,” said Aubrey. “He is an important part of our outreach ministry to the poor and homeless.”
“Don came over from St. Joseph Church in Anderson to St. Mary of the Angels, seeking a better experience of Church,” said Aubrey. “He immediately fell in step with the parishioners of St. Mary’s. Already a Knight of Columbus, he became a member of our men’s club, and joined the parish council.”
Nanette Perron is the minister of the newly-forming fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order. “She gives herself fully to this endeavor, which is a time-consuming process, and is serious about her vocation as a Secular,” said Aubrey. “But before that, she is a devoted parishioner of the St. Mary of the Angels parish family. She is the main sacristan for the church and a committed Catechist in our religious education program. She is our JPIC animator, and is always available to assist the friars in any of our programs.”
“Nanette is employed full-time as an occupational therapist at the nearby 200-bed Veterans Administration home and at a large local nursing home,” Aubrey said. “In both of these facilities, she radiates a sense of Franciscan joy, making great our Franciscan name and the name of the Catholic Church here in the Bible belt.”
The medals were presented by Aubrey and Michael Jones, OFM, the weekend of Aug. 6, during the parish’s celebration of the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Holy Name Province has staffed St. Mary of the Angels Parish for more than 70 years. The parish was founded by three friars in 1943 and in 2008 dedicated a new church.
The Holy Name Province Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who have displayed an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. In recent months, it has been presented by friars in Pompton Lakes, N. J., Loudonville, N.Y., and Tampa, Fla.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communication for Holy Name Province
- “Franciscan History on Exhibit at S.C. Museum” – Feb. 10, 2016, HNP Today
- “Anderson Friars Present Francis Medal to ‘Generous’ Parishioner” – Aug. 27, 2015, HNP Today
- “Francis Medal Presented to Anderson Parishioners” – Nov. 2, 2014, HNP Today