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Butler Parishioner Honored with Francis Medal

BUTLER, N.J. – Michael Sciarra, grand knight of the Knights of Columbus Council #943 and a long-time parishioner of St. Anthony Parish, was presented with the Holy Name Province Francis Medal by pastor Joe Juracek, OFM. The presentation was made at the 11 a.m. Mass on Aug. 18 with Sciarra surrounded by his wife, parents and other family members, who along with parishioners and fellow knights heard Joe extol the medal recipient for his leadership, support, and generosity.

Joe Juracek presents the Francis Medal to Michael Sciarra. (Photo courtesy of Annette Miller)

“Michael is very dedicated to his family, the Knights, his church and community,” Joe told the congregation, among them Sciarra’s son and sister. “Under Michael’s leadership, the Knights have been very generous with their support of various charities – in particular, the Catholic Charities-sponsored department of disabilities and the St. Anthony food pantry. The Knights of Columbus frequently provides financial support to the food pantry and supply hams and turkeys for the holidays.”

Sciarra, a member of the Knights for seven years and currently serving in his second term as grand knight, was honored and surprised to receive the Francis Medal.

“Receiving the medal from Fr. Joe was [special] because I admire him so much,” said Sciarra, a Kinnelon, N.J., resident. “He is a terrific man who does a lot for many people, [so] it was an honor to be nominated by him.”

Joe Juracek with Francis Medal recipient Michael Sciarra. (Photo courtesy of Annette Miller)

Sciarra’s involvement with parish projects includes arranging meals at Easter and Christmas for those in need, and preparing holiday baskets for as many as 35 families – the latter two activities in conjunction with the parish food bank.

The St. Anthony Knights of Columbus Council, a branch of the Catholic-based fraternal organization that engages in charitable works that are local as well as global in scope, has also arranged pasta dinners whose proceeds benefit the parish, according to Sciarra, who coordinates the event and puts his culinary skills to work in the kitchen.

The HNP Francis Medal was established more than two decades ago. Then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM, developed the award in 1998 to recognize individuals who embody the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi in their personal and professional life.

The medal has been presented by friars at Province parishes and ministry sites throughout the world. In July, Ignatius Harding, OFM, and Thomas Kornacki, OFM, honored Sr. Araceli Revuelta Arias, OP, with the Francis Medal in La Paz for her six decades of mission service alongside Franciscan friars in Bolivia.

Information about St. Anthony Parish, which was founded in 1878, can be found on its website.

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