-Sofía Larkin Appleby, Major Gifts Officer
Foundation for the Diocese of El Paso
Father Jonathan Morris, a nationally renowned author, news commentator, and the Director of the Catholic Channel on Sirius XM, will replace formerly announced Keynote Speaker Father Gregory Boyle at the dinner. Fr. Boyle, a Jesuit Priest and the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries, who was originally scheduled to speak, cancelled his El Paso engagement because he was invited to address the Geneva Global Peace Talks.
“We already have received so much positive feedback from Catholics throughout our diocese who are fans of Father’s book, The Way of Serenity,” said Janine Young, Executive Director for the Foundation. “We look forward to a wonderful evening that will raise much needed funds for our churches, schools, and Catholic charities.”
Fr. Jonathan Morris is a Roman Catholic priest currently serving in the Archdiocese of New York. He serves as news contributor for the Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, and the Wall Street Journal offering coverage of the ethical, social, and religious news stories. Fr. Jonathan is the author of The Way of Serenity: Finding Peace and Happiness in the Serenity Prayer, God Wants You Happy, and The Promise. He served as a theological advisor in the making of the feature film The Passion of the Christ.
Reverend Monsignor Francis J. Smith will be honored as the first recipient of the Dei Gratia Award during the Foundation of Faith Dinner. Msgr. Smith was ordained on Mar. 25, 1967 and served St. Raphael Parish for 29 years. The Dei Gratia Award, Latin for, “By the Grace of God,” recognizes an individual, couple, or organization for their servant leadership, outstanding contribution to the Diocese of El Paso and our Catholic community, and their dedication to being good stewards of God’s grace.
“From his support of seminarian formation to the establishment of parishes and schools, Msgr. Smith is most deserving of the first Dei Gratia Award,” said Young.
This year, performance artist and painter James “Jimmy” O’Rourke will create a triptych painting during the cocktail hour which begins at 5:00 p.m. The artwork will be auctioned off during an exciting live auction. Jimmy came highly recommended by Foundation Secretary and dinner live auction chair, Machelle Vanecek. As it turns out, Jimmy’s stepson received the Foundation’s 4-year Hunt Family Foundation scholarship to attend Cathedral High School, so he is “humbled to be able to give back.” Besides the beautiful art, a vacation getaway, and restaurant gift card package, the live auction includes needs items like funding for fuel for West Texas, songbooks, and Bibles. Packages range in price from $20 to $4,000. Items go quickly—about 1 ½ minutes per package—so come prepared to bid.
Proceeds from the dinner will support the work of the Foundation in sustaining the long-term needs of the charities, ministries, parishes and schools of our diocese. The event sold out in 2013 and 2014 and the Foundation expects another big crowd this year.
Father Jonathan will be available to sign his books following the program. You can purchase a copy of one of his books on the night of the event. Copies are limited.
For more information, to purchase tickets or become a sponsor: elpasodiocesefoundation.org or call 915.872.8412.