Catholic Charities Gala – ‘Hope Grows Here’

“Hope Grows Here” was the uplifting theme of the 16th Annual Gala of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Allentown, April 14 at DeSales University Center, Center Valley.

Bishop Alfred Schlert gave an invocation and offered words of welcome to the assembly of approximately 250.

“Catholic Charities is Catholic in mission, but extends to all faiths and all needs,” he said. “I'm so grateful to all of you who make their work possible.”

Event festivities included a basket raffle, a wine pull, and a live auction conducted by celebrity auctioneers Father Allen Hoffa and Monsignor Thomas Orsulak.

The highlight of the gala was the bestowal of honors on Monsignor William Glosser, dean of the Schuylkill Deanery and pastor of St. Clare of Assisi. St. Clair and pastor of Holy Cross, New Philadelphia; and Anthony and Evelyn Carfagno, parishioners of Assumption BVM, Bethlehem. The three were recognized for their charitable works in the Diocese and their example of servant leadership.

With characteristic humility, Monsignor Glosser told the assembly, “Today you honor me for being the face of Schuylkill County. But frankly, you’ve asked the wrong guy.” He then named several members of the church who are active in the Schuylkill County community, and noted that it is ordinary people doing God’s work who are most deserving of recognition.

“It’s not my face. It’s the face of Jesus Christ and all the people that are here to bring Jesus to the marginalized.”

As members of the Knights and Dames of Malta, Anthony and Evelyn Carfagno dedicate themselves to the defense of the faith and the service of the needy. The couple has also been active in Catholic Charities, serving as co-chairs of its gala for several years, and continuing their involvement with the planning of the annual event.

“Anthony and Evelyn’s generosity, leadership, and faith have made Christ’s presence known to individuals and organizations throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond,” said Paul Acampora, Executive Director of Stewardship and Development for the Diocese, in his introduction of the Carfagnos.

In honor of Anthony Carfagno, who is an alumnus of St. Joseph’s University, Acampora was accompanied onstage by a costumed character resembling The Hawk, mascot of St. Joe’s.

Also recognized at the gala was Emanuel “Manny” Luna, a senior at DeSales University. Luna is the recipient of the second annual Jeffrey P. Young Youth Service Award, which is given to a college student who has made an outstanding contribution to his college campus, and who exemplifies a Christian lifestyle.

Luna is involved in both DeSales Campus Ministry and the Pro-Life Club, and has served as co-leader of the Saints and Souls campus retreat. He also is part of a men’s group that prepares meals for the homeless.

Catholic Charities’ own work in homelessness support, as well as in counseling services, family support, and older adult programming, is funded in part by the live auction, a much-anticipated segment of the annual gala. This year’s auction offerings included three exceptional “experiences”: Firefighter for a Day, No. 9 Coal Mine, and Chef Padre Hoffa’s soup-to-nuts feast.

Enthusiastically working the room after the auction was “Phil the Bag,” Catholic Charities’ own mascot. He was accompanied by a high school student who took pictures of guests alongside the photogenic Phil.

Outside the University Center, the Catholic Charities Community Cafe Food Truck served treats to gala attendees. The truck will help bring relief to outlying areas of the Diocese.

“We are trying to be a social services agency without walls,” said Bishop Schlert. “Poverty is throughout our Diocese, not just where we have brick and mortar. The need is great.”

More about the honorees

A Schuylkill County native and a 1976 graduate of Pottsville Area High School, Monsignor Glosser, or “Father Bill” as he prefers to be called, was recognized for his many years of service to the community.

He is an active board member of the Schuylkill Elder Abuse Alliance, and a past member of both the County Local Emergency Planning Committee and the volunteer fire service, where is fondly known as “Billy Priest.”

Monsignor Glosser will celebrate his 40th anniversary of ordination on May 12. He has taught in diocesan high schools, served as director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, and been a pastor for almost 25 years. He said that his greatest joy consists in being a “simple parish priest” ministering to the needs of the people of Schuylkill County.

Anthony Carfagno is a proud graduate of St. Joseph’s University and the recipient of several of its awards, including the Shield of Loyola, which honors an alumnus whose life reflects the values of St. Ignatius Loyola.

He served as a pharmacist in the U.S. Army, and after his time in the military, continued his career in the pharmaceutical industry. He is Chairman Emeritus of St. Joseph’s University Board of Governors, and remains active in his alma mater’s Hawk Athletics.

Evelyn Carfagno is a Eucharistic minister in her parish and at Holy Family Senior Living, Bethlehem, where she also serves as a board member. A graduate of Rutgers University, she is a Trust Advisor for the diocesan “Because We Are Catholic” annual appeal.

She is a founding member of “Women for DeSales.” She is also a member of the Assumption BVM Finance Committee. Prior to her retirement, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry.

Photos by Norman Steinruck.


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