Each year the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC) recognizes a Catholic citizen from each (Arch)diocese in the state who has exemplified good citizenship in promoting Catholic values in the public policy arena and in their local communities and parishes. Normally these awards are presented each fall during the Missouri Catholic Conference Annual Assembly. However, the event is virtual this year, so each (Arch)bishop presented the award to his (Arch)diocesan recipient.
Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau
Henley has been involved in public ministry in the evangelization of the Catholic faith, namely as the face of the 2020 Catholic Men’s Conference in Springfield. He has also been involved with Man Up and God and the Springfield Man Up 100 team to support local families and fatherless children. Bishop Edward M. Rice presented Henley the Citizen Recognition Award during a Sunday liturgy on Sept. 12 at Immaculate Conception Parish, Springfield, where Henley and his family are members.
“While a number of people were instrumental behind the scenes in organizing and hosting the [annual Men’s] conference, this individual was the public face of the conference and it is vitally important to recognize and encourage the public ministry of evangelization of our Catholic faith. Especially with our Catholic men,” Bp. Rice said to the congregation, announcing the award. “So this individual made a presentation that involved the sharing of his own personal journey of faith, which is sometimes things that men aren’t really comfortable doing. But he jumped into the fray and he did it; and he touched the hearts of many. Such openness should be encouraged. So for the Diocese of Springfield Cape Girardeau the 2021 Citizen Recognition Award goes to Craig Henley.”
Other MCC honorees
Other recipients of the 2021 MCC Citizen Recognition Award included Christine Dragonette in the Archdiocese of St. Louis; Kristan Chamberlain in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph; and Sr. Kathleen Wegeman in the Diocese of Jefferson City.
Dragonette is the Director of Social Ministry at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church, and has extensive experience helping vulnerable populations in the community.
Chamberlain is an active volunteer with the Kansas City Rescue Mission, the founder of the KC CAN Compost. She and her team provide job training and employment opportunities for the homeless while offering a vital recycling service for local commercial businesses and residential organizations that generate food waste.
Sister Wegeman is the former Chancellor to Bishop Emeritus John Gaydos and the Bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, W. Shawn McKnight. During her tenure, Sr. Wegeman also served as Director of Pastoral and Charitable Services. She is a longtime champion defender of the poor and socially marginalized, exemplified through her decades of service stateside and abroad.
“Congratulations to the 2021 CRA recipients!” said the MCC in a statement releasing the awardees for 2021. “We are grateful for your important work.”