Andrew Mercado '16, recipient of the Bishop Joseph F. Maguire Award, lives his faith through a compassionate heart and peaceful action.

Andrew Mercado '16, recipient of the Bishop Joseph F. Maguire Award, with (from left) Bernadette Nowakowski '89, Elms director of development and legacy giving; Bishop Emeritus Timothy A. McDonnell; Andrew's parents, Piedad and Jerry Mercado; and Sr. Carol Allan, director of Campus Ministry at Elms.

Maguire Winner Lives the Charism of the SSJs

When it was time to nominate this year’s Bishop Joseph F. Maguire Award recipient, Sister Carol Allan, SSJ, director of Campus Ministry, didn’t have to look far — just outside her door, in fact.

Andrew J. Mercado ’16, a healthcare management and sociology major with a minor in religious studies, has “transformed” the Campus Ministry office over the past two years, Sr. Carol wrote in her recommendation letter to the Western Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association (WMCOPA), which established the award in honor of the late Bishop Maguire’s decades of service as the association’s chaplain.


Bishop Joseph F. Maguire Award winner Andrew Mercado '16 with Elms Director of Campus Ministry Sr. Carol Allan and Western Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association President Dave Hastings, chief of the Gill Police Department.

Andrew is very active in social justice projects and service trips, and in his parish.

“Andrew fully enters into experiences,” Sr. Carol said, “learning about the culture and the customs but, most importantly, about the people. He is gentle, with an imaginative spirit which is constantly listening with an inner ear, a compassionate heart and peaceful actions.”

During his time at Elms, Andrew has participated in the Dorothy Day program, which matches students with a Sister of St. Joseph ministry, and domestic and international service trips. During his freshman year, he worked with gangs in San Jose, California, and volunteered at an organic ranch. In his sophomore year, he helped refurbish a teen center in Concordia, Kansas. In March, he will travel to rural Chinandega, Nicaragua, to work with Amigos for Christ and help dig systems that will bring water to families’ homes.

The Holyoke resident is also active in his parish, Blessed Sacrament and All Souls, working in youth ministry and religious education, all while maintaining a GPA of 3.92. His future plans include attending graduate school for an advanced degree in higher education administration and possibly an advanced degree in theology.

"Reflecting on the legacy of Bishop Maguire, you really sense that the Bishop was a man of deep faith, humility, and compassion. From all the stories I've heard with his recent passing, the Bishop truly lived with great love and joy in serving the people of the Diocese of Springfield as well as the wider community,” Andrew said. “Receiving this award in honor of Bishop Maguire serves as a personal inspiration in which we are all called in everyday life to serve one another attentively in living out our faith for the good of the community and the church.”

The $1,000 award is intended to provide financial support to an Elms undergraduate enrolled in religious studies or who has made outstanding contributions to the community service/campus ministry programs. The recipient doesn’t need to exhibit high academic achievements or be in financial need, but must have distinguished him or herself through dedicated efforts in building traditions of faith through avenues such as community service, spiritual life, sacramental programs, liturgical celebrations, retreats, and prayer and reflection services.

“We will forever be changed by knowing Andrew and feel blessed to have shared this journey with him,” Sr. Carol said.