November 1, 2022 | Local News
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Fr. David Kennedy presents a brand-new Sophia Award to his parishioner, Ella Smith, who lost her original award when her home was destroyed by the Dec. 10, 2021 tornadoes that struck western Kentucky. COURTESY OF DCN. MIKE MARSILI

Resurrection parishioner receives new Sophia Award to replace original lost in Dawson Springs tornadoes


A Dawson Springs woman was recently surprised and blessed to be presented with a brand-new Sophia Award, which replaced her original award that was lost when her home was destroyed by the Dec. 10, 2021 tornadoes that devastated western Kentucky.

The annual Sophia Awards honor parishioners across the Diocese of Owensboro who are 65 years of age or older and who embrace and live lives of stewardship – giving of their time, talent and treasure. Nominees’ names are submitted by their parishes and anyone who fits the criteria and has not already received a Sophia Award is eligible, whether they are lay people, members of a religious community, deacons or priests.

Smith, who belongs to Resurrection Parish in Dawson Springs, had only just received her 2021 Sophia Award when the tornadoes struck. Sadly, even Resurrection Parish was not spared, as the storms so badly damaged the little church that it was later deemed a total loss. (They have since been meeting for Mass in a shed on a parishioner’s property until the new church is built.)

After the tornadoes passed and Smith’s family attempted to dig out possessions amid the rubble, the Sophia Award was found – albeit badly beaten up.

The diocese’s Office of Stewardship was contacted about replacing Smith’s award, considering the circumstances. They did – and on Oct. 9, 2022, Resurrection’s pastor, Fr. David Kennedy, presented the new award to Smith at Sunday Mass.

As the parish continues to move forward in rebuilding their parish and their lives, Smith’s new award was seen as a sign of promise and a brighter tomorrow.

Originally printed in the November 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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