The Catholic Education Foundation’s (CEF) Hispanic Leadership Advisory Board (HLAB) recently honored Archbishop José Gomez for his five years of service to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and his enduring commitment to Catholic education during the organization’s annual fundraising dinner.

Held the evening of May 28 in the Cathedral Plaza Ballroom at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the gathering featured Jovana Lara of ABC 7 Eyewitness News, a former Catholic school student, as master of ceremony; a touching testimonial by Josergio Zaragoza, a former CEF recipient who recently earned a Master’s degree in bioengineering at Santa Clara University; and a tribute speech by Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar, who presented Archbishop Gomez with a proclamation commemorating his fifth anniversary in Los Angeles.

“I’m really honored to be here to present this proclamation from the City of Los Angeles for a man of faith,” said Huizar. “Archbishop Gomez has done an outstanding job of making sure our mission’s work continues to expand, to reach more children whose lives are forever changed by a Catholic school education.

“We’re here to thank the archbishop for a lifetime of leadership, of accomplishments, of faith, and for leading by example,” he continued, “and tonight we honor him … for his perseverance, guidance and stewardship over the past five years, not only to education, but to the entire community of faith of Los Angeles.”

Upon accepting the honor, Archbishop Gomez thanked everyone present for their prayers and support, and publicly asserted his Angeleno status by confirming that he is an ardent fan of both the Dodgers and the Lakers, but jokingly admitted, “I’m still working on becoming a Clippers fan.”

“This evening and this proclamation tell us that the Catholic Church is making a big difference in the fabric of life here in Los Angeles — and the Church is every one of us. … The Catholic Church is a family,” he said.

“As I look back on these last five years, and as I look ahead to the future, I am really hopeful for our schools, and especially for our young people. Thank you for celebrating this anniversary with me … but I think it’s not about me, but it’s about all of us.”

  In 2014, CEF contributed more than $12 million to help fund scholarships for 9,700 needy students attending more than 200 Catholic elementary and high schools across the three-county archdiocese. CEF recipients have a 98 percent high school graduation rate, with most going on to two-year college or four-year universities.