The Department of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Diocese of Buffalo recently held an evening commemoration at Mount St. Mary Academy in Kenmore, entitled "Witness the Spirit" in celebration of Youth Ministry in the Diocese. Awards were presented by the Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo to adults who are active and support youth in their parishes. He also presented many awards to young people who live their lives as young disciples and are active participants in their parish communities.
The most prestigious award of the evening, the Venerable Nelson Baker Award, is presented each year to honor one priest from the Diocese of Buffalo who has demonstrated consistent and dedicated commitment to youth ministry and to serving the young people of the church in the Diocese of Buffalo. This very special accolade was presented this year to the Rev. Matt Nycz, pastor of Blessed Mary Angela Parish in Dunkirk. In his acceptance speech, Father Nycz stated that he was "very humbled to receive it" and that he accepted the Venerable Nelson Baker Award in the name of all who work with youth throughout the diocese, and especially in the parishes where he has been a pastor.
Many young people from Blessed Mary Angela Parish and Father Nycz's former parish, Most Precious Blood in Angola, came to the ceremony to cheer for him. The youth also created an enjoyable slide presentation in recognition of Father's work and activities with the Youth Ministry program under the direction of parish Youth Minister Carolyn Grassmick.
The Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, the Rev. Matt Nycz, pastor of Blessed Mary Angela Parish in Dunkirk, holding a Venerable Nelson Baker Award; Katherine Goller, diocesan youth director.
Bishop Malone presented Nycz with a pewter statue depicting Father Nelson Baker with two boys from the orphanage he established. A large group of present and former parishioners and friends were present at the award ceremony to celebrate this honor with Nycz.