TOLEDO The Catholic Diocese of Toledo concluded its 100th anniversary year with a Centenary Vesper Service June 12 at Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral in Toledo.
Bishop Leonard Blair presented papal and diocesan honors to representatives from parishes and institutions throughout the diocese. A reception for all awardees and their guests followed the service.
Deacon Floyd Hohman of New Riegel All Saints Parish was one of 11 people who received a papal Benemerenti Medal ("well deserved") for his ministry to farmers and farm communities, according to an article in the June 26 Catholic Chronicle.
In 2000, Hohman became a permanent deacon from the former Frenchtown St. Nicholas Parish and broadened his rural ministry to northwest Ohio and into Michigan and Indiana.
Having lived and worked on a farm all his life, Hohman said his involvement at the diocesan level began in 1988.
A scorching drought that summer had affected nearly every farmer in the area. Hohman contacted the diocesan Rural Life Office to organize support groups and Masses for those involved in agriculture. He served many years on the Rural Life Board and three years on the staff of National Catholic Rural Life Conference.
Before the awards, Msgr. Michael Billian spoke to the media about papal award recipients.
He said the people being recognized have made contributions beyond their parishes to the larger church community.
"The pope gives it annually at the requests of the bishops," Billian said.
Honorees for the diocesan Centenary Awards were nominated by individual parishes.
Centenary awardees from Seneca County included Ted Rombach, Calvert Catholic Schools; Evelyn Daniel of Tiffin St. Joseph; Deacon John Daniel, Sycamore St. Pius X; Wanda Mills, Tiffin St. Mary and Toledo Diocesan Council of Catholic Women; Sister Mary Charles Scherley, Sisters of St. Francis; Dale Thornton, chief executive officer, Mercy Tiffin Hospital; Rita Brickner, Liberty St. Andrew; Donald Kromer, Bascom St. Patrick; John and Kristin Wood, New Riegel All Saints; Kathy Stephenson, Attica Our Lady of Hope; and John Crawford (posthumous), Fostoria St. Wendelin.
During his remarks at the service, the bishop thanked the honorees for their service and observed that the people most worthy of recognition tend to be the most humble in accepting it.
Quoting from one of Paul's letters, Blair urged everyone attending to use their gifts for the benefit of the community.
The ceremony concluded a year-long celebration. During the Centenary Year, a specially made Centenary Cross has circulated to every parish and institution in the diocese.
Billian also said Blair conducted regional prayer gatherings at every deanery.