The annual New York awards dinner for SOAR! was a success. The event, held Oct. 7 at the New York Athletic Club, drew more than 300 guests to support aging Catholic Sisters, Brothers and Priests. 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 Margaret McDermott, O.P., executive director of the Tolentine-Zeizer Community Life Center; Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York; and Deloitte, one of the largest professional services firms in the world.
The gala is a major fundraiser for SOAR!, which provides grants to religious congregations to meet the immediate needs of their retired and infirm members.
Sister Margaret received the Father Victor Yanitelli, SJ Award. The award is presented annually to a senior religious in the greater New York area for their generous spirit and creative service to the needs of others. A member of the Sisters of St. Dominic, Blauvelt, New York, she is a tireless advocate for children and the elderly, the homeless, immigrants and refugees.
“I love my parish, I love my church, I love my community…as someone said to me, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life, and that’s how I feel,” Sister Margaret said in her remarks.
Monsignor Sullivan received the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. The award recognizes individuals for their leadership and generosity in the spirit of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton.
As the executive director for Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, he oversees the federation of more than 90 human service agencies that provide help and create hope for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers in need throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese of New York.
Stephen Gallucci, the managing partner of Deloitte’s New York office, accepted the Saint Katharine Drexel Award for the firm. The award honors individuals and organizations who have made a significant contributions on a national scale to the Catholic Church and particularly to America’s men and women religious.
Michael Castellano, a former SOAR! board member who started his career at Deloitte, presented the Drexel award. He recalled Pope Leo XII’s words to Saint Katharine Drexel when she spoke to him about the needs of the poor; “What are you going to do?”
“Deloitte has clearly answered that challenge,” he said. “I believe the spirit of volunteerism and community involvement is imbedded in the firm’s DNA. It permeates the firm and is in everything that it does and has been supported by Deloitte’s senior leadership for decades.”
At the dinner, Sister Nancy Conboy, S.A., the minister general for the Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement, also accepted a $25,000 grant from SOAR!. The grant will allow the Franciscan Sisters to upgrade the elevator in the assisted living wing at their mother house in Garrison, New York.
The current elevator is almost 58 years old, Sister Nancy said, and recently, it had been stopping between floors — or refusing to stop at all — leaving Sisters stranded while they waited for the repairman.
SOAR! awards grants for necessities to improve the lives of the aging religious, such as automatic door openers, renovations to bathrooms to make them handicap accessible, or upgrades to fire alarms.
In 2015, SOAR! provided 61 grants totaling $1.1 million.
View more photos from the event below.