By Jessica Easthope
A group of first-grade students at St. Helen Catholic Academy in Howard Beach are at the beginning of their faith formation. Their Catholic education wouldn’t be possible without support and a mission to give everyone an opportunity.
Because of events like the Bishop’s annual Christmas luncheon, the Catholic Foundation of Brooklyn and Queens is able to give scholarships to 4,500 Catholic school students every year.
“My number one goal if you bring it down to the young people and the schools is that we can transmit the gift of faith to them, we do it by providing an excellent education and tools for life but it’s in that context of friendship with Jesus,” said Bishop Robert Brennan.
This year Bishop James Massa was honored with the St. John Paul II award for his work in education and vocations to the priesthood.
“He’s meant so much to me on my own priestly journey and has inspired so many vocations to the priesthood and currently as the rector of a seminary, his teachings, his wisdom and his charisma continues to inspire young people,” Bishop Massa said.
The recipients of the Emma A. Daniels award and Spirit of Hope award were Frank DeRosa and the Pfohl, Quigley and Kirby families, who each said Catholic education has played a significant role in their lives.
“The schools are so important, the responsibility to get kids to learn not only their ABCs but elements of their faith it’s so important to have schools like this,” DeRosa said.
“We just really think a Catholic education is so important to girls specifically but for boys and girls to have the foundation to go forward in life,” said Cannon Quigley-Campbell.
More than 850 people attended the annual luncheon, hoping to continue to make a Catholic education accessible for students in Brooklyn and Queens.
“The importance of the Catholic Foundation is to ensure children have that opportunity no matter where they’re from, what nationality they are, we are there for them, especially in Catholic education and forming young people to be the future of our church,” said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello, vicar for development in the Diocese of Brooklyn.
The goal for this year’s event is to raise more than $300,000 to go toward scholarships and youth ministry programs.