Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Thursday, April 26, 2018

annual breakfast cc help hope 7147 cmykSister of Mercy Patricia McKeon, retired executive director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation, stands with Catholic Charities CEO Marek Kukulka and Archbishop Leonard P. Blair as she holds her Help & Hope Award at the annual Catholic Charities Help & Hope Breakfast Dec. 10 at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. (Photo by Jack Sheedy)HARTFORD – More than 300 supporters of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Hartford applauded the efforts of individuals and groups during the 10th annual Help & Hope Breakfast at the Marriott Hartford Downtown Dec. 10.

Invoking the words of Pope Francis, Archbishop Leonard P. Blair said people should constantly “contemplate the mystery of mercy.... Our salvation depends on it.” He added in a prayer to the heavenly Father, “At a time of violence and discord at home and abroad, may we be your ambassadors of justice and peace so that, individually and as a country, we may know the joy and serenity that come from living according to your commandments, which are really one great commandment: to love you above all things and our neighbor as ourselves.”

Help & Hope Awards went to Sister Patricia McKeon, retired executive director of Mercy Housing and Shelter Corp., for her leadership in providing help for people in need; the Friends of the Farmington Libraries for their efforts to ensure that everyone has the resources to read; and the ShopRites of Connecticut for their support of food pantries throughout the state.

In his keynote address, former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville said his father came to America in 1956 from Trinidad and Tobago, both to escape poor living conditions there and to pursue a medical career here. As many immigrants do, he faced challenges along the way but was helped by the good works of strangers.

“I would not be standing here if my father had not received the helping hand from people who cared for him as a valued member of the community,” Mr. Glanville said.

Mr. Glanville is retired from baseball and is an ESPN analyst and motivational speaker. He was the first African-American Ivy League (University of Pennsylvania) graduate to play in the majors, having played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers.

“The mission of Catholic Charities is to create long-term solutions for people in need,” said Marek Kukulka, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Hartford. He said that Pope Francis has noted that charity that leaves the poor person as he or she is is not sufficient and that true mercy demands justice.

“We want individuals and families to reach higher levels of educational achievement” with better employment, fewer high school dropouts, fewer teen pregnancies and less dependence on drugs, he said.

Brother Robert Moriarty, director of the archdiocesan Pastoral Office for Small Christian Communities, told the Transcript, “Catholic Charities represents the heart and soul of what Pope Francis is calling for for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.”

Dave Martineau, executive director for Mercy Housing and Shelter Corp., attended the event in support of his predecessor, Sister Patricia.

He said, “I believe that Catholic brethren all over this state support us in our effort to help people who are homeless. Volunteers come in from a lot of different churches around the area to provide food for our folks. ... Catholic Charities and the [Archbishop’s Annual] Appeal have been very generous to us.”

Archbishop Emeritus Henry J. Mansell told the Transcript, “The event supports services to people who are in need, who are in drastic need, and it makes an amazing difference. If this event were not here, certain people would go without help, without significant help, that is strongly important for moving on with their lives. Catholic Charities does so much to help people who otherwise would not be as successful as they are, as youngsters and then as adults.”

According to information provided by Catholic Charities, local family centers served more than 3,853 individuals and families during the 2014-15 fiscal year; the Archbishop’s Emergency Assistance Fund helped more than 300 individuals and families; Comprehensive Youth Services helped more than 550 young people; more than 3,000 people were helped to find employment; and 350 seniors received help through senior centers and home-based programs.

Proceeds from the Help & Hope Breakfast will support these and other programs throughout the archdiocese. For more information, go to www.ccaoh.org.