More than 1,000 people attended the 69th Annual Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City on December 8, 2014. This famed holiday affair draws generous New Yorkers to benefit women and children served by the agencies and programs affiliated with the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
The event, sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity and hosted by His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, raised nearly $900,000. Author Mary Higgins Clark chaired the lunch. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities offered the Invocation.
As Honorary Luncheon Chairman, Cardinal Dolan along with Nancy Waters of the Ladies of Charity presented Ana Laffont with the “Christmas Angel” award. The annual award honors individuals that manifest generosity of spirit evidenced through compassionate outreach to those in need. Ms. Laffont serves as Chair of the Board for Mary’s Meals USA, a non-profit organization that provides meals for poverty-stricken children from around the world.
Also honored were Robert and Joyce Giuffra with the Spirit of St. Nicholas Award. This award is presented annually to individuals who have brought the light and hope of the Christmas season into the lives of those who too often go without them, not just during the holiday, but all year long. The Giuffra’s join a roster of other inspired and committed New Yorker’s who have received this honor. Joyce was former press secretary to Senator Bob Dole and Bob is a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell. They and their 3 children are members of St. Thomas More parish.
“Standing here, I can’t help but think about the sacrifices of my grandparents, the long hours they worked, the fears they had to overcome,” Mr. Giuffra said as he accepted the award. “Thanks to the work of Catholic Charities, today’s immigrants have a home in America…My grandmother was a fierce believer in the awesome power of Catholic charity. Thank you all so much.”
The afternoon event, filled with carols sung by professionals, children and guests, provided the perfect kick-off for the Christmas season. Noted Mezzo-Soprano Isabel Leonard from the Metropolitan Opera performed. Our Lady of Pompeii Children’s Choir sang “Silent Night” with guests as they entered and exited the luncheon. And students from Saint John Chrysostom performed the Christmas tableau while Cardinal Dolan narrated the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke. Martha MacCallum, Co-anchor America’s Newsroom, (FOX News Channel), tied it all together as the event’s emcee.
The annual holiday event raises funds for Catholic Charities to support programs that help thousands of needy women and children of all religions throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese.
Looking for inspiration? Read Msgr. Sullivan’s invocation.
Check out this Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon slideshow on FaceBook.