Carmen Sanchez is the recipient of the Little Flower Parish 2019 Lumen Gentium Award from the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
The Lumen Gentium Award is granted to one Catholic layperson per parish. These individuals are practicing Catholics who have participated actively in the Church’s mission.
Latin for “light for the nations,” Lumen Gentium describes how each member of the Church is called to bring the light of Christ to all. These individuals have used their talents with exceptional dedication to serve the parish. The recipients of the award are nominated by their pastors and confirmed by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS.
Mrs. Sanchez will be presented her award, along with over 140 other individuals representing parishes around the Archdiocese of San Antonio, at a prayer service and awards ceremony at St. Dominic Catholic Church on Feb. 1.
Mrs. Sanchez is the kind of volunteer who when she sees a need steps up to fill it. Joining the parish in her 20s, she was active in service for over 60 years. Even now, she said, she is prepared to answer any call from the church for her help.
She was certified in lay ministry and devoted countless hours to service in Eucharistic Ministry, Altar Society, Arts & Crafts, faith formation, youth sports, and Women’s ACTS. She also was responsible for forming new programs to serve
As the leader of the RCIA program, Mrs. Sanchez noticed that many ladies wanted to learn, but only spoke Spanish. There weren’t any classes available for them.
“So I put on my working gloves,” she
Her favorite role in the parish was as a coach. She noticed that other parishes had CYO, but that while the youth at Little Flower also wanted to play, they had nobody to help them. So she began a new parish CYO program.
“Growing up I had no place to go for recreation,” Mrs. Sanchez explained. Seeing that young girls needed guidance and that no one else was stepping up was a strong motivator for her.
She coached softball, basketball, volleyball, and track. Some of the girls she coached went on to coach others, she noted.
“There’s always that one rebel, but I would take my time with her and help her feel welcome and part of a group,” Mrs. Sanchez recounted. She also worked with parents to understand what a particular child needed, to be more effective in reaching their hearts.
“I have so many beautiful memories of Little Flower,” Mrs. Sanchez said. She and her husband, Rudy, would take the youth on trips in their van to Corpus or Canyon Lake at the end of the church year. At these times, they would take the opportunities for discussion with the teens, to encourage them to consider what examples they should follow, and the role of faith in their lives.
Mrs. Sanchez’ advice to parishioners? “Guide the young people. They need someone they can look up to, to guide them. I’d like to see more people working with the teens.”