Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HBF gala Future Music Students 3 2017 webLooking for ways to support Catholic education? Mark your calendar for the second annual gala hosted by the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation. This year’s special event and fundraiser benefiting Catholic education is set for Saturday, Nov. 18 at noon at the Aria in Prospect.

“I’m grateful to the many donors and supporters of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation for making this a reality for us,” said Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Sister Mary Grace Walsh, Ph.D., provost of education, evangelization and catechesis for the archdiocese. “I’m looking forward to the gala to be a wonderful event in support of a very worthwhile cause, which is Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Hartford.” 

The Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, which oversees all aspects of Catholic education in parishes and schools of the archdiocese, will receive the proceeds.

Catholic education is the next major focus of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation as part of its Forward with Faith capital campaign.

Last year, the foundation’s focus was the Cathedral of St. Joseph. The foundation’s first annual gala at the Riverview in Simsbury drew nearly 500 attendees and raised $770,075 toward the cathedral’s $12 million renewal and renovation project.

This year’s fundraising event will support the archdiocese’s broad, far-reaching vision for Catholic education, which encompasses education and faith formation along a continuum that extends from childhood to adulthood.

“Our efforts in Catholic education will extend beyond school children to include all levels of religious education, training for pastoral associates, young adult ministries and youth programs and more,” noted Archbishop Leonard P. Blair.

Sister Mary Grace added, “When we speak of supporting Catholic education, we include the ongoing education and faith formation of all the faithful in the Archdiocese of Hartford.”

“I’m profoundly grateful,” Sister Mary Grace said, “for the vision and leadership of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation in supporting Catholic education in our schools and parishes and for helping us to advance our mission.” For tickets to the gala, call 860.913.2668.

Four educational goals

This year’s spotlight on Catholic education was conceived with four major goals in mind:

1. Raise additional funds for financial aid for those who require tuition assistance. While the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS) and other private foundations currently provide some aid, Sister Mary Grace said, the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation will greatly assist in this effort.

2. Provide professional development for educators and ministry leaders. Professional development for teachers and administrators will lead to the improvement of student performance in Catholic schools. Faith formation training for catechists, campus ministers, youth/young adult ministry coordinators and pastoral associates will transform lives across the archdiocese.Professional development will focus on the Catholic faith, as well as on critical topics in education. “We want to ensure that our educators, who are Catholic and are teaching the faith to our students, fully understand the Catholic faith they’re sharing,” Sister Mary Grace said.

3. Secure grants for transformational innovation in parishes and schools. Plans are under way to develop criteria for funding to support innovative programs at the local parish or school level.

4. Implement the Seat of Honor Program. A program is being developed, Sister Mary Grace said, to recognize educators “who show excellence in their profession.” The honor will include a salary augmentation and an oak chair with a brass plate that reads “Seat of Honor.” “We are excited about honoring our educators who are so dedicated to Catholic education,” the provost said.

To raise additional funds for Catholic education, the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation held a reception in May at Blasius Chevrolet in Waterbury to kick off a raffle for a 2017 red Corvette. The car was donated by the dealership to benefit Catholic education in support of the gala. The winner of the Corvette will be announced at the Nov. 18 gala.