MIDDLETON -- Catholic Charities (CC) of the Diocese of Madison had its largest crowd ever for its 15th annual Awards Dinner held on November 9 at the Marriott Hotel.
Over 460 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.
Brian Cain, CC president, said in thanking people who attended the Awards Dinner, “Services for the family help protect, promote, and strengthen the family unit. Our services provide resources to people that can enhance the quality of their lives.
“Services for the aging support and honor elderly persons as they navigate the transitions of life. Our aging programs make it possible for them to maintain self-sufficiency and preserve dignity,” said Cain.
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. He noted the record attendance and said this is especially encouraging in these difficult economic times when “nonprofits are experiencing challenges.”
Master of Ceremonies Jay Wilson of WISC-TV, Channel 3, introduced priests, Brothers, Sisters, and deacons present at the dinner as well as members of the Catholic Charities Board, Awards Dinner committee, and CC staff.
Loving our neighbor
In his remarks at the dinner, Bishop Robert C. Morlino thanked those attending the dinner “for the wonderful support you offer all year long in giving of your time and treasure.”
The bishop noted that when we go to Mass, we are able to participate in the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross. “Loving our neighbor is a perfect sacrifice of praise. The more we live lives of self-sacrifice, the more we get out of the liturgy,” said the bishop.
He encouraged those present to be a “self-sacrificing people who reach out in love.”
Brian Cain thanked Bishop Morlino and the board of directors for their guidance and support. He said the Awards Dinner is an opportunity to create awareness of Catholic Charities’ services and help fund services for aging persons and families.
Cain gave three President’s Awards to Catholic Charities’ clients. “These award recipients are remarkable individuals who are making a difference in people’s lives,” he said.
The recipients told their stories in video segments, along with Catholic Charities’ staff who work with them. The honorees included:
• Ronnie Duell, a client in Catholic Charities’ Developmental Disability Counseling program. He had been institutionalized since age seven, but transitioned into community living at age 18. He has transitioned well into community living and hopes to graduate from school in June of 2011. He enjoys fishing, basketball, and participation in Special Olympics.
• Tari Raatz, a client and volunteer in Catholic Charities Infant Adoption/Post Adoption Resource Center. She and her husband, Rusty Raatz, began working with Catholic Charities Adoption Program in 2003. In 2004, they adopted their son, Patrick. Since 2008, Tari volunteers as a co-leader with the Post Adoption Resource Center, helping prospective adoptive couples and families.
• Howard R. Steinmann, a client with Catholic Charities’ Respite Care Team Ministry. Howard is a caregiver for his wife, Gladys. They have been married for 69 years. He receives help from the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Respite Care Team in Madison. Mick Steinmann accepted the award on behalf of his father, who was unable to attend.
Youth Faith in Action Awards
Catholic Charities established its new Youth Faith in Action Awards this year to provide a scholarship for deserving high school seniors who put their faith into action.
Ruth Ann Grantham, CC banquet co-chair, presented the first awards to:
• Anna Marie Grogan, a senior at Baraboo High School and member of St. Joseph Parish in Baraboo. She puts her faith into action by volunteering at her parish and in local organizations. She is a member of the parish Mass band and enjoys playing music during Mass and at functions such as the Resurrection Rally. This past summer she was a Leader in Training at Camp Gray.
• Isaiah Okey, a senior at Cassville High School and member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Cassville. He says he puts his faith into action “by trying to put God first, others second, and myself third in life.” He is involved in school and parish activities, including his parish youth group.
Faith in Action Award
Catholic Charities Board Chair Joe Tisserand presented the CC Faith in Action Award, which is given to a past CC Board member. This year’s recipient is:
• Alan “Cubby” Wolfe, who has served two different terms on the CC board for a total of 12 years of service. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in Madison. On the CC Board he has served on the Executive Committee as vice president and secretary and has served on the Finance, Nominating, Personnel, and Awards Dinner Committees. Wolfe said his wife, Elain, and his family also deserve the award for doing all the “odd jobs around the house so I could volunteer my time and put my faith in action.”
Jean Elvekrog, co-chair of the Awards Dinner and CC board member, presented four Leadership Awards honoring four women in the community who consistently incorporate Catholic values in their leadership and are “inspiring examples of role models.”
Recipients this year with their comments (in italics) are:
• Sr. Maggie Hopkins, O.P., who has spent over 19 years at Edgewood College in Madison as assistant to the president for mission integration. “Catholic Charities is the merciful face of God meeting the needs of others in critical circumstances. We participate with others in building a just society. Students are inspired to live lives of service and to reach for ultimate solutions to build a just and holy society.”
• Sr. Mary Ellen Lewis, F.S.M., one of the last two Franciscan Sisters of Mary to leave Madison this year. She served in administration and as a staff member and director of pastoral care at St. Mary’s Hospital. She has also been involved in volunteer service in the Madison community. “We never really accomplish anything by ourselves. I bear the influence of family, teachers, mentors, friends, co-workers, and the Franciscan Sisters of Mary for over 50 years. I hope all the good God has worked through Catholic Charities will be happily concluded through the grace of our God. ”
• Rita Macewicz, member of St. Jude Parish in Beloit and active in parish, deanery, diocesan, and national levels with the Council of Catholic Women, including currently serving as province director. “I have brought my faith into the marketplace through the Council of Catholic Women. This is our 90th year nationally. I encourage all women to be part of the vast council of Catholic women.”
• Mary Williams, member of Sacred Heart Parish in Reedsburg, where she is the liturgy coordinator. She is also involved in social outreach programs and ecumenical efforts in the community. “The needs are huge, but Jesus sent 72 disciples out in pairs. We are sent, but we’re not alone. It is together that we can build the city of God.”