Catholic Church Honors Presiding Bishopric
By Sarah Jane Weaver, Church News staff writer
- At a humanitarian awards dinner the Catholic Community Services recognized the Presiding Bishopric, Frank and Barbara Layden, and Armani McFarland.
- Bishop Stevenson expressed appreciation for the acts of charity and outreach rendered by the Catholic Community Services.
- Past award recipients Elder M. Russell Ballard, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and Sister Harriet Uchtdorf also attended the awards ceremony.
“That men and women and families of all faiths and persuasions come together to address … significant and worthy causes should not surprise us.” —Bishop Dean M. Davies, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric
One way to truly glorify a loving Heavenly Father is to “extend ourselves to all of His children with compassion and kindness,” said the Church’s Presiding Bishop on Thursday, October 24.
The Lord’s divine counsel “to be faithful, succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees applies to each of us as a tutorial way that we should treat our fellowmen,” said Bishop Gary E. Stevenson.
Catholic Community Services of Utah recognized Bishop Stevenson and his counselors in the Presiding Bishopric—Bishop Gérald Caussé and Bishop Dean M. Davies—for their outreach during the Humanitarian Awards Dinner, held in the Grand Ballroom of the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.
Also honored during the awards ceremony were former Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden and his wife, Barbara; 10-year-old “unsung hero” Armani McFarland; and the University of Utah Lowell Bennion Community Services Center.
Past award recipients President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency and his wife, Sister Harriet Uchtdorf, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve also attended the awards ceremony.
In accepting the award, Bishop Stevenson expressed “esteem and appreciation” for the Catholic Church and Catholic Community Services for their outreach and charity.
“It is said that in great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen and in small things they show themselves as they are. We note the small things done each day by Catholic Community Services in soup kitchens, in rehabilitation centers or food banks, which tell us who you really are.”
He said the Presiding Bishopric accepts the recognition with “institutional representation” of the Church.
Furthermore, he noted that many have come before him—including former Presiding Bishop H. David Burton and his counselors, Bishop Richard C. Edgley and Bishop Keith B. McMullin—“who plowed the ground that brings us here.”
“As we are relatively new in this capacity, we recognize that those things that are positive and commendable rightly belong to them,” he said.
Bishop Stevenson said as a father who loves his children and who is mindful of their welfare, he knows what warm feelings of gratitude he has for those who have compassion for or demonstrate acts of kindness toward them.
Likewise, he said, one way to truly glorify Heavenly Father is to show compassion and kindness to His children. “The example of this of [Catholic Community Services,] our brothers and sisters who honor us here tonight, is truly inspiring.”
Bishop Caussé, who could not attend the event because he was out of the country, spoke in a prerecorded message. He praised the humanitarian efforts of members of preceding LDS Presiding Bishoprics who laid the foundation for the work being accomplished. “I would also like to express my deep admiration to Catholic Community Services for the services you render in the community,” he said.
“Thank you for letting us join you in such a great cause.”
Bishop Davies said, “Hunger, homelessness, and inclement weather do not discriminate. They do not respect age, gender, race, or religion, and they impact virtually every community, every street, and perhaps even every family. That men and women and families of all faiths and persuasions come together to address these significant and worthy causes should not surprise us.”
Working together, he added, is the Lord’s way and “reflects the love, respect, and compassion we hold in our hearts for our Father’s children everywhere.”
During her remarks, Barbara Layden recalled growing up with a widowed mother who received help and support from the Catholic Church.
Frank Layden said that when tables are full, people with much should “help those that might be less fortunate than ourselves.”
Quoting Jackie Robinson he said, “A life is only as important as the impact it has on other lives.”
Ten-year-old Armani McFarland, the youngest award recipient, spoke about wanting to help others after learning about the plight of hungry children. “Please, everyone, reach out and help someone,” she said.
University of Utah Vice President Fred C. Esplin called it a privilege for the Lowell Bennion Community Services Center to partner with CCS.
Closing the event, Bishop John C. Wester of the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City called the evening “a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge your goodness in our community and the wonderful ways in which you have touched all of our lives.”