Catholic Religious Education Coordinator at U.S. Naval Academy Nominated for Lumen Christi Award

Ms. Anne Butta recognized for steadfast pastoral service to Midshipmen and families

Ms. Anne Butta (right) with Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio.

Ms. Anne Butta (right) with Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ms. Anne Butta, the Catholic Coordinator ofReligious Education at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., has been nominated for Catholic Extension’s 2015 Lumen Christi Award. Now in its 38th year, the Lumen Christi Award honors an individual or group working in one of America’s mission dioceses who demonstrates how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. Each of this year’s 47 nominees will receive a Catholic Extension grant of at least $1,000 with which to pursue their ministries. Finalists, to be chosen next month, will each receive $10,000. The winner, to be named in the fall, will receive $25,000 with another $25,000 going to the winner’s diocese.

Ms. Butta was nominated by His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services. Friends of theArchdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), may show their support by voting for Ms. Butta on the Catholic Extension Facebook page. Voting ends May 8.

Dr. Mark Moitoza, AMS Vice-Chancellor Evangelization, says Ms. Butta’s work centers around engaging young Catholics to practice their faith, and she works personally with Midshipmen to encourage them to pray daily and serve as catechists. Since the 2004-05 school year, Dr. Moitoza says, more than 1,400 children have participated in religious education at the Naval Academy. In addition, 233 adults have taken part in the adult education classes to convert to Catholicism. “While there is a constant turnover of other religious figures at the Academy,” Dr. Moitza says, “Ms. Butta’s ministry has remained steadfast, keeping the Catholic faith community there growing.”

Dr. Moitoza says that Ms. Butta serves as an inspiring Catholic role model while successfully managing the details and chores of her ministry:

“Anne does everything from keep the budget to order curriculum, secure classroom space, and recruit and train catechists, and she arranges weekly bulletin announcements, penance services, funerals, and other church activities. While some of these are typical tasks of a Catholic parish anywhere, the military setting adds layers of bureaucracy that can often be experienced as overbearing. Anne navigates these systems seamlessly, allowing the faithful to encounter the Sacraments and the life of the Catholic faith community unencumbered.

“Beyond all that, Anne is a trusted mentor for the young adult Midshipmen. In one tragic situation several years ago, for instance, her pastoral presence was felt deeply when a young Midshipman fell terminally ill with spinal meningitis. Anne made regular visits to the hospital in Baltimore, comforting classmates, friends, and family members, giving future Navy officers and leaders an example of compassion and empathy to draw from as they later experienced the deaths of others in deployment or by accident. Anne’s pastoral sense for ministry moves far beyond program implementation and deep into the lived experiences of those she serves.”

Voting for Ms. Butta on the Catholic Extension Facebook page is simple: Go on Facebook and “Like” Catholic Extension’s page to view all nominees. Scroll down and click on Ms. Butta’s entry. You’ll be taken to her page where you can cast your vote by clicking on the blue “vote” button. Share your vote on your own Facebook wall and ask those in your network to vote, too.