Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Khloe Paredes, of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard Parish in Palmetto Bay, was chosen for the newly created honor after a national selection process. According to the NCCW, young women from 14 to 21 years old are eligible to be nominated for the award in recognition of their “spirituality, leadership ability, and acts of service.”
Aside from the rose, Paredes’ national award comes with a $100 check, a four-year individual membership to the NCCW, gifts from the NCCW store, and a cover story in The Catholic Woman magazine.
She will receive her National Golden Rose on Sunday, Aug. 20, at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary-St. Richard.
Paredes was nominated for the honor by the staff at Holy Rosary-St. Richard School, which she attended from pre-K3 to eighth grade, and Archbishop Carroll High, from where she graduated this May.
As a student at Archbishop Carroll, Paredes organized a car wash for Afghan refugees and a T-shirt drive for Ukrainian refugees, both of which raised over $1,000 for their respective causes. A guitar player and vocalist, she directed the music ministry at the high school. She also served as a core leader in campus ministry, for which she earned a Campus Ministry Award.
Paredes also belonged to Archbishop Carroll’s Theology Honors Society and served as president of the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. At her graduation, she was honored with the Archbishop Wenski Catholic Leadership Award.
“One of the core values of the faith is service, and I’ve been taught my whole life that service for the underprivileged isn’t just something that Catholics should be pursuing on the side, but a duty and responsibility we should portray in every aspect of our lives,” Paredes said.
She noted that she took to heart the call to service at the beginning of her junior year, after Carmelite Sister Mara, campus minister at Archbishop Carroll, inspired her to become involved.
Paredes said she was moved by the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and Palestine occurring in 2021.
“It was being talked about a lot in my school, and I thought it was a big issue that couldn’t be avoided. There were a lot of very underprivileged people that I noticed,” she recalled. “Sister Mara and I prayed a lot about it.”
They were inspired to coordinate the car wash fundraiser for Afghan refugees in September 2021, in partnership with the Theology Honors Society and Carmelite Sister Immaculata, Theology Department chair.
Later that year, Paredes pitched the idea of the T-shirt drive to Sister Mara, to raise money for a nonprofit serving Ukrainian refugees. The endeavor was another success.
“Catholic faith is the foundation of my life and what I have been put on this earth to do,” Paredes said. “I have been raised in a Catholic community my whole life, and I just feel like I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing and wouldn’t be in this position receiving this award if it weren’t for this tight-knit, Christ-centered community that I grew up in.”
She thanked her family, whom she called “my biggest supporters” and “the first people to teach me about the faith and about what service in Christ is.”
She also thanked the staff of Holy Rosary-St. Richard School and Archbishop Carroll High for nominating her, as well as the archdiocesan and national Council of Catholic Women, who “invited me into their community with so much support and encouragement.”
Paredes is a rising freshman in the Honors Program at Florida International University, majoring in nursing.
Her advice to other young Catholic women who want to become involved in service: “Don’t do it for yourself. If you’re in a position that you’re able and you’re privileged, do what Christ did.”