NEW HAVEN – The eighth annual Archbishop’s Columbus Day Breakfast set a record for the number of attendees and level of funds raised for scholarships to 13 area Catholic elementary schools.
It took place Oct. 10 at Anthony’s Ocean View restaurant.
Cynthia Basil Howard, executive director of the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Foundation for Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS), which hosts the event, told the gathering that the results reflect the generosity of Catholic school graduates who continue to believe in and support the values of Catholic education.
The event netted $34,000, which was matched by funds from the archbishop for a total of $68,000, all earmarked for scholarships.
Receiving a standing ovation, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair expressed his “profound gratitude” to donors for their “support and deep commitment” to Catholic education.
“We do a lot with a little to make our dollars go further,” he said. More than providing a basic curriculum, Catholic schools teach “religious and moral truths that help children flourish.”
Guest speaker Kerry Robinson, executive director of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management, talked about the importance of Catholic education and the importance of ensuring that poor children have access to quality education.
“The Catholic Church is the greatest humanitarian network in the world,” she said, “champions” of quality education.
Referring to a recent study of 700 occupations, 47 percent of which were predicted to be lost to automation in the next two decades, she noted that Catholic education will continue to play an important role in providing well-rounded, diverse education.
Also expressing appreciation was Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who noted that 86 to 87 percent of Catholic schools have applied for state security grants to keep schools safe after the Sandy Hook tragedy.
The emcee for the breakfast was Chuck Mascola, who helped launch the event eight years ago. The founder of a nationally recognized marketing group that bears his name, Mr. Mascola credited his achievements to his strong family and Catholic school upbringing.
A graduate of St. Bernadette School, Notre Dame High School, and the University of Dayton in Ohio, he is a lifelong member of St. Bernadette Parish. According to FACS, he donates his personal and professional services to what he believes is the most important cause: the continuation and success of our nation’s Catholic schools.
Special recognition went to the principals of the 13 area Catholic elementary schools: St. Mary in Branford; St. Vincent de Paul in East Haven; St. Rita and St. Stephen in Hamden; St. Mary and St. Gabriel in Milford; Our Lady of Mercy in Madison; Our Lady of Victory and St. Lawrence in West Haven; and St. Aedan and St. Brendan, St. Bernadette, St. Francis and St. Rose of Lima, and St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven.
Music was provided by students from St. Gabriel School under the direction of John Swingler.
The top sponsors for the breakfast were the Knights of Columbus Supreme Council, UIL Holdings Corp. in New Haven and Vertex Inc. in New Britain.