DRAPER — Father Ken Vialpando, pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Ogden, was presented with the Christ the Teacher Award by Utah Catholic Schools Superintendent Holy Cross Sister Catherine Kamphaus on March 9 at Saint John the Baptist Catholic Church in Draper.
"Father Vialpando is a wonderful priest and pastor in our diocese and I think he truly deserves this award," said the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, who presided at the Mass during which the award was presented. "Fr. Vialpando teaches in the ways that Jesus did: with love, compassion, mercy, reconciliation. He’s an example in many, many ways."
Fr. Vialpando was born and raised in Tooele and ordained a priest by the Most Rev. William K. Weigand, seventh Bishop of Salt Lake City, in the Cathedral of the Madeleine on Aug. 24, 1991. He began his ministry as a teacher and chaplain at Judge Memorial Catholic High School. At that time he also served as a part-time parochial vicar at Saint Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Midvale, then at Saint Ambrose Parish in Salt Lake City. In addition, he was the Diocesan Assistant Scout Chaplain.
Since then, Fr. Vialpando has served numerous assignments in the diocese, and also as a chaplain in the Utah National Guard.
"As pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Ogden, Fr. Ken works with both the elementary school and the high school," reads the Christ the King citation. "He is a member of the boards of both schools, and a willing partner in providing Catholic education to his own parishioners as well as those of the other parishes in Ogden. His outreach to the many students and faculty members at the schools is well appreciated. Fr. Ken addresses the students of all ages – elementary through high school – with the message of Christ’s love for them. The faculty and the principals of the school respect and admire his ability to provide spiritual care to all of their students from the youngest to the oldest. His message that God loves each of them is clearly proclaimed through his presence amongst them and in his words to them and his care for them."
After accepting the award, Fr. Vialpando said he was pleased to receive the award in the presence of his mother, who inspired him, as did teachers like those gathered for the Professional Educator Day that followed the Mass.
"I’ve had great teachers like you who inspired me along the way, who have been there to light the fire underneath me, who have been there to recognize some of the gifts that I have had and to bring them out," Fr. Vialpando said. "I am humbled in receiving this award because you are the ones who are the backbone and support of the schools…. Our Catholic schools are open today because of you."
Bishop Wester also thanked the Utah Catholic Schools teachers for their ministry. In his homily, the bishop said they have a great responsibility, having to help students become productive members of society but at the same time to bring out their individuality.
"Your ministry in our church is a precious one because God is working in you, and he has called you to this work," Bishop Wester said. "We know that you will cooperate with God at work in you and that gives us the ability to dream big dreams for our students and for our church."