Papal Awards

2017 Papal Awardees



Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice  

(“For the Church and for the Holy Father”)

Antonio Montesione

Benemerenti (“Serving with Distinction”)


Elizabeth Diott

Elizabeth Diott was born in Malta, but arrived in New York as a small child; that started her life here in the U.S.A.  At a young age, Liz took on the role of looking out for her siblings.

When the family moved to California, Liz was once again the person who took care of the family. She eventually attended school and later college.  She got a job at a bank and from there rose to Branch Manager. Liz, now as a retired business woman, is still looking out for and caring for her siblings, their children and grandchildren.  She is tireless, working for the Lord.

She strides on and on, helping others to get on their feet and be successful.  I have always been inspired by this humble lady who never says, “no;” she will always be on time, and willing to help in any way. She even takes care of the Pastor’s dogs!  Liz does everything joyfully despite the fact she is so busy, she always makes time for everyone.

As a retiree, she volunteers with the Pasadena Police Department, as well as volunteering in the parish office here at Assumption.  She is a member of the Pastoral Council, Liturgy Committee, and Environment Committee, she also trains Sacristans for Mass and is a Sacristan at Sunday Masses as well as a Eucharistic Minister.  Liz wears many hats, but never seeks recognition.  She is always willing to serve the Lord, joyfully.  I highly recommend Liz to be awarded a Benemerenti Award.

~From Fr. Gerard’s Recommendation

Joan Feser

Joan is a single mother, and a retired Special Education Teacher.  Her entire adult life has been teaching and caring for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities.

When I arrived at this parish over 11 years ago, I met Joan and her three children for the first time.  Immediately, I was drawn to her children whom she had adopted as babies many years before.  Michael is now over 30 and has Down’s Syndrome, Johnny is 27 with Down’s Syndrome, and Julianna is 20 and had a stroke at birth.  These three beautiful, spiritual young adults are a blessing to our parish here at Assumption.  Joan, all those years before, adopted them and gave them a most special life, a loving and faith-filled home. Joan’s own faith is strong and firmly rooted in Jesus Christ’s message of love.  I have always been inspired by her and her three babies, as she calls them.

Michael is a Knight of Columbus member; I thank God that our Knights accepted Michael as one of their members, this is a powerful sign for our Knights who had the vision to include someone that others might look down upon.  They gave Mike confidence, responsibilities, and the chance to be part of a men’s Catholic group in our parish.

Julianna is a Eucharistic Minister in our church and her brother Michael always holds the ciborium for her. It’s really special to see both of them distributing the sacred host of Jesus to the parishioners at Sunday Mass.  Julianna also volunteers as a Faith Coach in our Faith Formation Ministry every Sunday morning.  This is, indeed, a great blessing to see this special family living out their baptismal call to serve the Lord in so many ways.

Joan is the Vice-President of our recently formed St. Vincent de Paul Society and she is also a member of our Mother Mary Visitation Ministry.   All in all, Joan Feser deserves this special award for all the contributions she gives of herself to the parish of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pasadena.  I know she will be overjoyed by this recognition and I know her three children will be in awe.

~From Fr. Gerard’s Recommendation

Frances Inafuku

Frances is a retired Court Recorder and widow.  She is full of joy in the Lord.  Frances is another tireless worker here in our parish.  Assumption is very much close to her heart.  She has a great devotion to Our Lady and is very devout in her faith.

She is Chair of the Environment Committee, and a member of the Liturgy Committee.  She is responsible for all the decorations in the church during the Feast Days and all the Liturgical Seasons. She leads with distinction, and is also very creative with design and flowers. Her Japanese background and her deep interest in flower arranging shines through every time.

Frances is a member of the Pastoral Council, a Sacristan at the Sunday Masses, and always attends daily Mass.  Frances is also a Eucharistic Minister to the Sick and Elderly, a Eucharistic Minister at Mass, a Lector, and a member of our Gregorian Chant Group.  She is always available to do anything.  I can’t recall her ever saying “no,” she is a totally “yes” type of person!   I would also say, she is a humble individual; she tries her best to do the best for everyone.  A recognition like this is well deserved for her as she is a tireless worker of the Lord — never expecting a return, but always looking for new opportunities to serve and help.

Recently, we had the blessing of our church (dedication) by Archbishop José Gomez, and Frances was in the thick of the organization and preparation for that celebration for months in advance.  She was Chair of that organizing committee.  This event was a tremendous success and her leadership helped to achieve that.  As pastor, people like Frances are gifts from God — people who are willing to do anything to help a project be a success as we lead the people of God to the Lord. Every single person is important, but we all need those who go out of their way and do unbelievable tasks without ever complaining; doing what needs to be done knowing it’s for the Lord.

I highly recommend Frances for this special award.  She deserves it.

~From Fr. Gerard’s Recommendation



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