By Tim Harfmann
Catholic school students sang Christmas hymns to put people in the holiday spirit at Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s annual Christmas luncheon. “This is kind of opening the Christmas season. We always have it in the beginning of December. It’s a beautiful way of starting Advent and looking forward to Christmas,” said Bishop DiMarzio.
It was a festive fundraiser to support the Diocese of Brooklyn’s Catholic Foundation and create new scholarships for Catholic schools. “Catholic Foundation does what it can to support the spiritual welfare of a parish. We give out grants to the parishes. We help with youth ministry and, of course, scholarships,” said Monsignor Jamie Gigantiello. He is the vicar for development for the Brooklyn diocese.
Bishop DiMarzio also acknowledged members of the faithful for their contributions to the Church.
Joseph Esposito spent 45 years with the NYPD — reaching the rank of Chief of the Department – and later headed New York City’s Office of Emergency Management. He said faith plays a vital role in his life. “It means so much to me. The Catholic Church, the Catholic education, did so much for my career and my life. If it weren’t for my 12 years of Catholic education, I would not be standing here,” said Esposito.
Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, the CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, was also honored. Through many programs, Catholic Charities helps nearly 100,000 people living in the diocese. “If it’s a way of honoring Catholic Charities and the work we do at Charities, then it’s all worthwhile,” said Monsignor LoPinto.
Sister Tesa Fitzgerald was the third honoree. She’s the executive director of Hour Children, a home in Long Island City, Queens. The organization helps formerly incarcerated women reconnect with their families and society. “It’s a recognition of the mothers and children that I’m really privileged and the good that they have done with their lives, that we’re only there to support them. It’s really the call of the gospel,” said Sister Fitzgerald.
A time for holiday cheer while showing recognition and support for future generations.