The SOAR! New York Awards Dinner was a powerful reminder of the reach and impact that Catholic religious have in New York, across the country, and around the world.

The gala, held September 21 at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan, is a major fundraiser for SOAR! — Support Our Aging Religious — which provides grants to religious congregations to meet the practical needs of their retired and infirm members.

From left is Father James Martin, SJ; Sister Mary O'Neill, PBVM; and ArchCare President and CEO Scott LaRue.

From left is Father James Martin, SJ; Sister Mary O’Neill, PBVM; and ArchCare President and CEO Scott LaRue.

Each year at the dinner, SOAR! recognizes organizations and individuals for their leadership and contributions to the Catholic community. This year’s honorees were Sister Mary O’Neill, PBVM; Father James Martin, SJ; ArchCare; and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia.

Father Martin, the editor at large of the Jesuit magazine America and the author of several books, received the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award for his leadership in the Catholic community. He accepted his award “on behalf of all the women and men religious who have been in the last 30 years my teachers, spiritual directors, mentors, colleagues, friends and heroes.”

“Catholic Sisters are my heroes,” Father Martin continued. “As you know, they have, in this country, traditionally ministered among young people in schools, the poor in city slums, the sick and weary in hospitals and have done so while living under a vow of poverty.”

“This is one of the reasons for SOAR!, one of the most outstanding causes and charities in the entire Catholic Church. Sisters were, and are, often on the vanguard of the Church’s ministry to regions that our under-served by the Church.”

ArchCare received the Saint Katharine Drexel Award for its philanthropic work and ministry. Scott LaRue, the president and CEO of ArchCare, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. During his remarks, he noted that ArchCare’s services include coordinating health care for nearly 400 Priests, Sisters and Brothers in more than a dozen religious communities.

“We are deeply grateful for our service to the people of God and to the Church,” Mr. LaRue said.

Sister Mary O’Neill received the Father Victor Yanitelli Award, which is presented to senior religious in the New York area each year to acknowledge their lives of service. Sister Mary, a Presentation Sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 65 years, now works for Newburgh Ministry in Newburgh, New York.

“Thank you for all those generous people who for 30 years have supported SOAR!…they certainly know you only go to heaven with what you have given away,” she said.

Grant award

The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Philadelphia received the Rita Hofbauer Grant from SOAR! The Sisters, a community of about 750 women, live out their mission statement “to live and work so that all people may be united to God and with one another” through ministries such as education, social services and parish ministries.

This grant of $20,000 will improve the everyday health care of the Sisters at St. Joseph Villa in Flourtown, Pennsylvania with state of art blood pressure monitors that are integrated into the Villa’s electronic medical record system.