BISHOP JOHN MCCLOSKEY was the first bishop of Albany and first American cardinal.
BISHOP JOHN MCCLOSKEY was the first bishop of Albany and first American cardinal.

In his lifetime, Bishop John McCloskey accomplished many distinguished firsts.

He was the first bishop of Albany (1847-64), the first American-born archbishop of New York (1864-85) and the first American cardinal (1875). Now you can honor the legacy of Bishop McCloskey while furthering the mission of Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger and the Diocese of Albany.

The diocesan office of Stewardship and Development recently formed The McCloskey Society as “a special way to invest in the work of the Bishop and his diocesan team in serving the spiritual, educational and charitable needs of our brothers and sisters in 126 parishes across 14 counties.”

The McCloskey Society, whose members support the Diocesan Appeal, consists of five levels of giving — Gratia (Favor, goodwill), Credo (Trust/belief in), Caritas (Charity/love), Benedictus (Blessed) and De Fideli (With Faithfulness) — and donor recognition. At the various levels, donors can receive a branded McCloskey Society lapel pin, recognition in The Evangelist and lunch or dinner with Bishop Scharfenberger, just to name a few of the extras.

There is also a Young Adults Level (ages 22-39) for younger diocesan donors.

“We know certainly during COVID-19 that people are really being thoughtful about where they are donating any extra money they have,” said Nancy Bielawa, executive director of Stewardship and Development. “To be able to recognize people who have prioritized giving to the Diocese is important; to be on the same playing field as many other charities. We felt it was important to start recognizing them and show our appreciation so others might be motivated by their efforts.”

Bielawa said naming the new initiative after Bishop McCloskey was easy since he left such a mark on the Diocese as its first bishop, and had a high school and a village named after him, so “it made sense.” She also continues to be amazed at the generosity of the faithful in the Diocese during this time of pandemic.

“Parishioners in our Diocese have paused and reflected in this challenging situation that no one has gone through before,” Bielawa said, “and they have really come to draw on their faith and they have shown how important it is through their philanthropy.”

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