St. Camillus Friars Present Deacon with Francis Medal

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

SILVER SPRING, Md. — An 83-year-old parishioner of St. Camillus Church was presented with the Province’s Francis Medal last month in recognition of his nearly 35 years of service.

Deacon Alfredo “Freddy” Hidalgo, a member of the parish since 1969, was honored by the friars on Oct. 2 at a Spanish Mass during Francis Weekend celebrations. 

“Freddy is the soul of Franciscan humility and service,” said Michael Johnson, OFM, pastor. “Besides doing countless weddings, baptisms, and funerals, helping incredibly to lighten the workload of the friars through his immigration work, he has helped thousands. Whenever I call with a favor, his response is always the same, ‘Speak Lord, your servant is listening.’ He means it. He is truly a Franciscan at heart.”

“I was deeply honored to receive the award,” Hidalgo said, adding that he feels that many others deserve recognition. “I received it on behalf of everyday saints — those who respond to God’s call to holiness, who say ‘Yes’ in their daily lives to God’s work of redemption and salvation, those who do nothing except their ordinary Christian duties of love and service.”

The Puerto Rican native, who said he “loves the Franciscan life and all the friars,” was ordained a deacon in 1979, just five years before the friars took over the parish.

Hidalgo said he finds satisfaction in serving as a deacon because he is able to “be a witness to Christ’s hope and love. I try to imitate Jesus and Francis,” who he said is his role model.

“I try to do the Lord’s work the best I can.”

Before retiring in 2005, Hidalgo worked for the Department of Health and Human Services in Montgomery County, Maryland. He and his wife, Angela, who is also involved with the parish, have three grown children.

His life now includes visiting the sick and serving at a variety of Masses, including weddings and funerals.

Holy Name Province’s Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then-Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are given a 3-inch bronze medallion disk in a case along with a gray parchment paper certificate marked with the seal of the Province.

“Whatever I do, I do for the love of God,” said Hidalgo. “That’s the motto that keeps me going.”

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.