Jack Petruzello with Msgr. Donald Dwyer after receiving the St. Joseph Scholarship Award
By Beth Griffin Matthews
Pope Francis declared 2021 a year for Catholics to honor St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus.
And on May 9, Msgr. Donald Dwyer, pastor of Resurrection Church in Rye, presented the 2021 Year of St. Joseph Scholarship to Jack Petruzello, a senior at Harrison High School. The $2,000 cash award and framed parchment citation also honor Jack as a responsible citizen.
“Jack puts his faith into action in a way that exemplifies the quiet, caring, respectful qualities of Saint Joseph,” according to Msgr. Dwyer. “He walks the walk and talks the talk. He’s socially committed and understands his religion,” Msgr. Dwyer said.
Jack attended Resurrection Grammar School and wears many hats at the parish. When the pandemic restrictions went into effect, limiting participation in worship services, his previously straightforward role as weekend sacristan expanded exponentially. Ultimately, he became a lector, Eucharistic minister, altar server, usher, and camera operator for live-streaming Masses.
He is the assistant track coach for the grammar school and a youth representative on the parish council. In the latter role, he made a 30-minute presentation to the council on how his peers use social media.
At Harrison High, Jack is in the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. This fall, he is headed to Ohio State University, and he is leaning toward a health-related field because he found volunteer work at Memorial Sloan Kettering in West Harrison very rewarding. Regardless of his college major, Jack is certain music will be well represented. He plays drums, ukulele, and bass guitar and is an enthusiastic fan of alternative, indie, and folk music.
Msgr. Dwyer said the award committee was impressed with Jack’s college application essay, which reflected the impact of music and his family’s two-year relocation to California on his personal development.
“It’s important to acknowledge our young people,” Msgr. Dwyer said. “We have to support teens and college students. It’s great to see someone who is socially committed, understands their faith, cares for others, and is open to people of different cultures, as Saint Joseph was.”
The scholarship is one of two given to college-bound Resurrection parishioners. The other will be announced at the Rye High School Scholars Senior Evening in June.