||President’s Award recipients pictured with Brian Cain, Catholic Charities president, are, from left: Tanya Lofdahl, Nicklaus Weiss, and Casey (Jeanette) McGiverin. (Photos/Michael Mowbray of Beautiful Portraits by Michael)
MIDDLETON — Despite tough economic times — or maybe because of it — Catholic Charities (CC) of the Diocese of Madison had the largest crowd ever for its 14th annual Awards Dinner held on October 29 at the Marriott Hotel.
Nearly 450 people attended the event, which honors those who put their faith in action and provides financial support for Catholic Charities’ many programs. This year’s Awards Dinner will especially benefit programs which help aging persons and families.
Making a difference
Msgr. Michael L. Burke, pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison and a member of the CC Board of Directors, welcomed the guests and gave the invocation. “We especially appreciate your support in these tough economic times,” he said. “This is especially important to create hope and fund programs that are so vital. We see the difference we are making in people’s lives.”
Master of Ceremonies Jay Wilson of WISC-TV, Channel 3, gave a brief summary of the impact Catholic Charities’ programs have on people. He noted that in the previous year, Catholic Charities assisted over 50,000 people in 28 different programs. This included over 10,000 served in community food pantries, 900 flood victims, and over 1,500 developmentally disabled persons.
Love of Christ reaching out
||At the Catholic Charities Awards Dinner are, from left: Joe Tisserand, event co-chair; Fr. Michael A. Resop, Leadership Award recipient; Jean Elvekrog, event co-chair; Brian Cain, Catholic Charities president; Rita Tubbs, Leadership Award recipient; Bishop Robert C. Morlino; Mark Landgraf and Ken Ballweg, Leadership Award recipients. (Photos/Michael Mowbray of Beautiful Portraits by Michael)
In his remarks at the dinner, Bishop Robert C. Morlino thanked Catholic Charities “for all the great work you do and will continue to do in the name of Jesus Christ. This is the love of Christ reaching out to make the truth of Christ we teach more credible, the truth in charity and the truth in love.”
He thanked Brian Cain, president of Catholic Charities, for “all he does on an ongoing basis.” The bishop also thanked the CC board members, employees, and volunteers. He congratulated the award recipients for unselfishly giving of themselves. “They give our community a great gift and they are a great gift to the Church,” he said.
The bishop also announced some “exciting news”: he has decided to have Catholic Charities distribute the portion of the Annual Catholic Appeal (ACA) funds pertaining to the Church’s charitable works. With the help of Catholic Charities, he hopes that the Church’s “corporal and spiritual works of mercy will continue to thrive.”
He also promised that diocesan assistance of at least $140,000 from the ACA will be given to the Catholic Multicultural Center in Madison, which is now being run by Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison. He thanked Msgr. Ken Fiedler, the pastor, and parishioners of Our Lady Queen of Peace.
Bishop Morlino also talked about health care reform. He said reform should answer two main concerns: does it provide health care insurance for everyone within reason? and secondly, are any human beings being intentionally killed? “We must care for all and protect the most defenseless,” he emphasized.
He also encouraged those present in this Year for Priests to support their priests and especially pray for them that “we be happy, holy, and hard-working.”
Brian Cain thanked Bishop Morlino and the board of directors for their guidance and support. He also thanked the priests present for being “our spiritual guide, friend, and confidant.”
Cain gave three President’s Awards to Catholic Charities’ clients. “These award recipients are our success stories,” he said. “They show the success of our programs as they affect individuals.”
The recipients told their stories in video segments, along with Catholic Charities’ staff who work with them. The honorees included:
• Tanya Lofdahl, a former client with the Pathfinder Jail Diversion Program in Madison. She is currently employed by Hope Haven as a counselor and chairs 12-step meetings in order to help others.
• Casey (Jeanette) McGiverin, a client in the CompanionCare Program in Madison. She has received help from this program so that she can live in her own home. She calls her helpers “guardian angels.”
• Nicklaus (Nick) Weiss, a client with autism who resides in the Community Living Program in Montello. Weiss is involved in work, community activities, and sports. One of his favorite activities is saving pop tops for the Ronald McDonald Home.
Jean Elvekrog and Joe Tisserand, co-chairs of the Awards Dinner and CC board members, presented four Leadership Awards honoring Catholics in the community who consistently incorporate Catholic values in their leadership and affect the lives of many. Recipients this year with comments (in italics) are:
• Ken Ballweg, who has worked with Endres Manufacturing Company in Waunakee since 1965. He is involved at St. John the Baptist Parish in Waunakee and on many other community boards. “I have been willing to share my time, talents, and treasures with many good causes throughout the community. I encourage others to do likewise.”
• Mark Landgraf, owner of Landgraf Construction, member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Madison, and member of the Diocesan Finance Council and many other community boards. “I feel that a community of believers in the presence of the Holy Spirit will be rewarded through the richness of prayer, giving of one’s self, and offering assistance when you see there is a need or you are asked.”
• Fr. Michael A. Resop, pastor of St. Luke Parish in Plain and St. John the Evangelist in Spring Green. He celebrated 30 years as a priest this year and has been involved in many diocesan activities, including marriage preparation, youth ministry, and priest boards. “Since my childhood, it has always been instilled within my spirit that my faith needs to be grounded in service to others.”
• Rita Tubbs, member of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Parish in Sun Prairie for 52 years, mother of seven children with 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She has been active in the St. Mary’s Hospital Auxiliary, the Madison Catholic Woman’s Club, and many other community organizations. “By attending daily Mass and listening to God’s word, I try to emulate God’s message by sharing my time, talent, and treasure. Living up to the corporal works of mercy is very important in my life.”