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home : features : people of faith

6/1/2017 9:00:00 AM
AWARDS EVENT
Catholic Charities kicks off centennial
Barbara DiTommaso, retired head of the diocesan Commission on Peace and Justice, receives her centennial medal from Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard, himself a medal recipient. (Kate Blain photo)
Barbara DiTommaso, retired head of the diocesan Commission on Peace and Justice, receives her centennial medal from Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard, himself a medal recipient. (Kate Blain photo)
Left, Catholic schools superintendent Giovanni Virgiglio speaks with medal recipient Rev. John Bradley, pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in Albany. Right, Catholic Charities CEO Vincent Colonno speaks at the awards presentation. (Kate Blain photos)
Left, Catholic schools superintendent Giovanni Virgiglio speaks with medal recipient Rev. John Bradley, pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in Albany. Right, Catholic Charities CEO Vincent Colonno speaks at the awards presentation. (Kate Blain photos)
"Happy birthday to Catholic Charities," declared CEO Vincent Colonno, kicking off a May 25 ceremony that's just one part of the 100th anniversary of Catholic Charities in the Albany Diocese.

Mr. Colonno noted that the human services agency was founded in 1917 through a special act of the New York State Legislature to care for orphans and others in need.

Today, Catholic Charities provides food, housing, emergency assistance, counseling, services for persons with disabilities and senior citizens, help for immigrants and pregnant or parenting teens and many other programs and services.

Although Catholic Charities has expanded into all 14 counties of the Albany Diocese to help "people who fall through the cracks," the need still exists. In a video created for the ceremony, it was noted that 55 percent of families in the Diocese that are headed by women are living in poverty.

At the ceremony, 20 of 100 "centennial medallions" being distributed this year were awarded to people who have "made notable contributions to Catholic Charities' mission over the years," from former staff and community partners to volunteers, committee members, contributors and board members.

Examples of centennial medallion recipients include Rev. John Bradley, pastor of Blessed Sacrament parish in Albany, who helped bring the city's Sister Maureen Joyce Center soup kitchen and food pantry to fruition; and the Hayes family, who were instrumental in the revitalization of Camp Scully for underprivileged children in the mid-2000s, as well as serving on Catholic Charities boards and improving the agency's internal operations.

Also receiving centennial medallions were Assemblyman Ron Canestrari, John Collins, BJ Costello, Bob Curley, Barbara DiTommaso, Rich Farrell, Bob Harrison, Rev. Dominick Ingemie, Marge Mineau, John Nigro, Michael Nardolillo (posthumously), Mary Beth O'Brien, Rev. Frank O'Connor, Betsy O'Haire and the Clark Family, Noel Olsen, Bill Przylucki, Mark Quandt, John Rutnik, Kim and Karl Seitz (representing the Ladies of Charity), Rabbi Scott Shpeen and president Lee Rosen (representing Congregation Beth Emeth), John Steele, Sister Peg Sullivan, RSM, Sandy Walters and Judge Leonard Weiss.

Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard receiving a standing ovation upon accepting his medallion for his leadership of the Albany Diocese and dedication to people in need. "His early years in Albany's South End set a course for his ministry," noted the presenters.

Medallions had already been awarded to Catholic Charities supporters in Greene and Columbia Counties, including board president Michael Pirrone, former board presidents Hank Digeser and Ellen DeLucia and former executive director Tom Gillespie.

Catholic Charities' most significant anniversary event will be a Mass June 4, 2 p.m., at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Learn more at www.ccrcda.org.





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