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'Just following God's directions'

Parishioners honored for service to local church at annual ThanksforGiving Mass

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Archbishop Thomas Wenski gives the One in Charity Award to Diane and Jim Schurman, as their St. Ambrose pastor, Father Dariusz Zarebski, stands with them. They were one of three local Catholics honored at the annual ThanksforGiving Mass, which Archbishop Wenski celebrated Nov. 18, 2023.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski gives the One in Charity Award to Diane and Jim Schurman, as their St. Ambrose pastor, Father Dariusz Zarebski, stands with them. They were one of three local Catholics honored at the annual ThanksforGiving Mass, which Archbishop Wenski celebrated Nov. 18, 2023.

MIAMI | Service to the church runs in the Caldera family, and they are working hard to empower other families to grow in faith.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski gives the One in Hope Award to Carlos and Elsie Caldera at the annual ThanksforGiving Mass, Nov. 18, 2023.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

Archbishop Thomas Wenski gives the One in Hope Award to Carlos and Elsie Caldera at the annual ThanksforGiving Mass, Nov. 18, 2023.

Elsie and Carlos Caldera, of San Isidro Parish in Pompano Beach, have been key leaders in their church’s Transformed In Love pre-matrimony ministry since around 2018. Their daughter, Karla Sanchez, works alongside her parents. 

On Nov. 18, 2023, the husband-and-wife team received the One in Hope Award during this year’s ThanksForGiving Mass at St. Mary Cathedral. The annual celebration, hosted by the archdiocesan Development Office, recognizes those who donate each year to the Archbishop’s Charities and Development campaign, commonly known as ABCD.

The description of the One in Hope Award states that recipients embody “the four initiatives of Stewardship by (1) receiving God’s gifts gratefully, (2) nurturing God’s gifts responsibly, (3) sharing God’s gifts justly and sacrificially, and (4) returning God’s gifts abundantly.”

After receiving the award, Elsie and Carlos said they are motivated to keep multiplying their gifts, like the faithful stewards of that day’s Gospel.

“We’re expecting to keep working with the Archdiocese of Miami and to collaborate with ABCD for more vocations, for the seminary, and for people in need,” said Elsie.

One in Faith awardee Ed Suazo recites the Lord's Prayer standing next to his sister, Ana Maria Isabel Suazo, at the annual ThanksforGiving Mass, which Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrated Nov. 18, 2023.

Photographer: MARLENE QUARONI | FC

One in Faith awardee Ed Suazo recites the Lord's Prayer standing next to his sister, Ana Maria Isabel Suazo, at the annual ThanksforGiving Mass, which Archbishop Thomas Wenski celebrated Nov. 18, 2023.

Receiving the One in Faith Award “meant a lot” to Ed Suazo of Nativity Parish in Hollywood. The award recognizes “excellence in evangelization.”

For approximately 15 years, Suazo has been faithfully attending Catholic Days at the Capitol. During the annual event, Catholics from across the archdiocese represent Florida’s bishops before state legislators in Tallahassee, advocating for priority issues.

A Knight of Columbus, Suazo also serves the community through Project Joseph, a pro-life ministry that aids fathers with counseling, material resources, and parenting skills classes.

“My volunteer work is something that follows the work of people before me,” said Suazo, citing the efforts of Brother Jay Rivera of Franciscans for Life, who spearheaded the Project Joseph ministry. “I’m thankful for my brothers Chris Handal, Joe King, and Roger Velasquez, who give their best” at Project Joseph.

“In his teachings, Jesus came with the eleventh commandment, ‘Love one another as I have loved you,’” Suazo added. “I’m just following his directions.”

Like their fellow awardees, Jim and Diane Schurman have striven to follow that “eleventh commandment.” The Schurmans, who received the “One in Charity” award for their generous support of ABCD, have been parishioners at St. Ambrose in Deerfield Beach for about 27 years. 

“We’re proud to participate in ABCD,” Jim said. “It does so much good and is given directly to the people.”

The Schurmans have also donated to redo the altar and commission a mosaic for their home parish. The mosaic, to be blessed by Pope Francis and created at the Vatican, will portray Christ on earth, Christ on the cross, and Christ in heaven.

“We learned that mosaics last forever because they’re made of marble,” Jim explained.

Just like long-lasting marble, this year’s award recipients hope to make an enduring impact with their diverse forms of service. They all strive, as Archbishop Thomas Wenski stated in his homily, to “[open] the door of our world to God and bring hope for our people.”