In 2014, the Federation established an annual award to honor one of its own members who serves in a Diocesan Office of Worship or on a Diocesan Liturgical Commission. The nominee was to have “served the Federation with distinction, and generously shared his/her skills, wisdom, and resources in order to promote sound liturgical practice and to advance the liturgical renewal.” There was little doubt that this year’s recipient filled those criteria abundantly!
Since 1988, Eliot has served in the Office for Liturgy and the Catechumenate in the Diocese of Springfield-in-Illinois. He serves as a faculty member in the diocesan Lay Ministry Formation Program and is a frequent workshop presenter on liturgy, catechumenal ministry, and adult learning. His handouts and bibliographies on current resources are stuff of legend and he readily shares them with colleagues and online.
So how do you introduce a “legend”?
Shall I introduce him as a Cubs fan? A lover of beer with a new taste for craft beer? Or as the “center square” of the infamous Bingo game played during national meetings?
Shall I introduce him as a sharer of resources who routinely knows what should be on your bookshelves and who compiles helpful, detailed bibliographies on a wide variety of subjects? Even today, he shared a draft of a resource for the Year of Mercy [hold up]. On all subjects, his motto is “Kill a tree for Jesus!”
Shall I introduce him as a lover of Christian Initiation and the promoter of the authentic implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults? For decades, he has coordinated a regional summer experience for RCIA team members aptly entitled “Wading Deeper.” He served for many years as a team member for the North American Forum on the Catechumenate.
Shall I introduce him as one who loves Liturgy and who can quote ritual texts with ease and who can cite paragraph numbers of related Church documents?
Shall I introduce him as a man who loves his region and who entertains them with parodies set to familiar hymn tunes? Or shall I introduce him as one who is truly loved by his region, for that is certainly true?
Shall I introduce him as one who loves the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, who finds life and support among its members and its activities? He has a great respect for our rich history and for the people who came before us and on whose shoulders we all stand.
He exemplifies all that this Federation stands for – a network of people who also love the Church, love the liturgy, love our colleagues, and love the Federation. So it is very appropriate that we now honor one of our own.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the recipient of the 2015 Alleluia Award -- Mr. Eliot Kapitan.