By Andres Rivera
SAN JACINTO—Advocacy, education and collaboration stemming from the works and individuals at St. Joseph Mission in San Jacinto has prompted the national Black and Indian Missions Office to recognize the parish.
The St. Joseph community was honored with the Katharine Drexel Evangelization Award by the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions, a subgroup of the Black and Indian Missions Office, at the National Tekakwitha Conference held in August.
Father Earl Henley, M.S.C., pastor of St. Joseph Mission in San Jacinto, chose three members of the community to nominate for the award. Michael Madrigal, Sister Marianna Torrano, R.S.C.J, and Marian Chacon, are examples of how the community works to evangelize, Fr. Henley says.
“These people are doing basic evangelization and it is hard work,” Fr. Henley said. “This recognizes that we are doing what we should, spreading the Good News to all of God’s people.”
Michael Madrigal, a lay minister at the mission, is known for his 12 years of dedication and service to the Native American Ministry. Madrigal brings his creativity and vision to the ministry. He heads the parish leadership team and is involved in the Human Relations Council as vice president. Madrigal provides workshops at San Jacinto Community College and helps in the Day of Understanding at the college each year.
Sr. Marianna has served for many years in the Native American Ministry of the diocese. She has worked for several years at Soboba reservation and began the St. Jude School there. She helped create two non-profit organizations to help support the Native American Ministry: the St. Jude School and the Kateri Fund. The Kateri fund is an organization that helps support evangelization efforts.
Marian Chacon is on the mission council and is the financial officer at the mission. She lives out her Catholic faith through the service she provides to all people in her community. Chacon is effective in her work in and outside the parish, too.
“She is our ‘agent,’ our bridge builder between the Church and the tribes,” Fr. Henely said.
Since receiving the award, Fr. Henley has taken it to the surrounding reservations in the diocese to show that all have equal share in the recognition.
“It demonstrates effective leadership, promotes faith formation and encourages identity and advocacy in the community,” he said.