In this Year of Mercy, five dedicated servants from the Los Angeles Archdiocese will be honored at the Cardinal’s Awards Dinner April 16 at the J.W. Marriott LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles.
The honorees — examples to the community who embody the pope’s “Year of Mercy” spirit — are Robert Berry, Teresa Clougherty, Charles Gaffney, Lydia Gamboa and Sister Alice Marie Quinn, DC.
The Cardinal’s Awards Dinner began in the late 1980’s, when Cardinal Roger Mahony, then archbishop of Los Angeles, expressed interest in celebrating the selfless, self-effacing and talented people who make up the archdiocese. Sister Mary Jean Meier, RSM, who oversaw the event for two decades, described the dinner as the “Catholic event of the year.”
The honorees, who represent the five pastoral regions of the archdiocese, are selected by the Cardinal’s Awards Committee, which is comprised of dedicated people from each of the regions. The dinner is expected to raise $10 million for the poor living across the archdiocese.
“We like to be mindful of choosing people from the five regions in the archdiocese. They are all extraordinary giving people. They all have amazing gifts. It is not an easy task selecting them,” said Judy Brooks, who is the director of the archbishop’s office of special services, noting that they provide the list of suggested honorees to the archbishop to choose from.
Archbishop JoséH. Gomez will present each of the honorees with the prestigious Cardinal Award during the upcoming dinner and celebration.
“These people stand out. They put God first. They give without thinking. Giving for each one of them is first nature,” she added.
Robert Berry is not your typical volunteer. He does not serve meals in soup kitchens or build homes for Habitat for Humanity. Instead, he offers financial advice for free.
After a successful career in the Aerospace Industry, he volunteered for 15 years at St. John’s Seminary as treasurer on the board of directors. His experience at St. John’s led to his volunteer role on the finance council and investment committee of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Berry is a member of Legatus, the Order of Malta and is a Knight of Magistral Grace. He also serves as board director for Catholic Charities of Ventura County and is a regent at Mary Health of the Sick. He and his wife Patty are parishioners of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in Ventura.
Teresa Clougherty gives to numerous charitable organizations throughout the community. Early on in her adult life, she tirelessly volunteered at her children’s schools, including Mayfield Junior and Senior Schools in Pasadena and Loyola High School in Los Angeles, where she has held many leadership positions and continues to be involved.
Now that her four children are grown, Clougherty’s time and talent is devoted to the Christ Child Society of Pasadena, where she served as past president and has spent four two-year teams on the Christ Child National Board. She is also a member of Life So Cal, Descanso Gardens, Ascending Lights, Right to Life and the Pregnancy Help Center, and is the current president of the Chapman Woods Association. Clougherty and her husband Anthony have 14 grandchildren and are parishioners of Saints Felicitas and Perpetual Church in San Marino.
Charles Gaffney and his wife Nicole lost their son Aidan when he was just 6 years old. They decided to honor his memory by launching Aidan’s Place, a handicapped-accessible playground located in West LA.
In addition, Gaffney is the former president and current board member of St. James Inn, which provides no-cost housing for patients or families of patients undergoing long-term medical procedures at UCLA Medical Center. He is also part of a team spearheading a fundraising effort for the Paulist priests, who seek to update their communications strategy, recruit new Paulists, and ultimately, build a new seminary.
When Gaffney is not busy with charitable endeavors, he works as president and CEO at Index Promotions, Inc. Charlie and his wife have five sons and are parishioners of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Los Angeles
Lydia Gamboa embodies the true spirit of mercy and compassion. In addition to being director of the archdiocesan Mission Office, she runs Adopt-A-Family. For the past 25 years, she has brought Christmas to the homes of many inner-city families through the Adopt-A-Family program.
Gamboa’s outreach includes: talking with and spending time with many of the adoptive families; attracting and retaining donors and volunteers who provide, wrap and help distribute gifts on the wish lists of adults and children alike; and enjoying the smiles of those both giving and receiving, knowing she is making a huge difference in the lives of many needy families in the greater Los Angeles region. She lives in Pico Rivera with her husband Mike and they are members of St. Hilary Church.
Sister Alice Marie Quinn, DC
Sister Alice Marie Quinn’s vision for St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels began with a pot of stew. But, prior to founding the program she worked at St. Vincent Medical Center as assistant director of its dietary department. She observed that many elderly and poor people did not eat nutritiously, and noticed that their physical and mental well-being suffered as well.
In 1977, Sister Alice Marie served a large pot of stew to 83 seniors at a local church hall. Her simple selfless act led to the St. Vincent Senior Citizen Nutrition Program, which expanded into St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels. Today, Meals on Wheels serves over 4,000 meals a day across L.A.
For reservations to the Cardinal’s Awards Dinner, contact Laura Jaros at (213) 637-7520 or go to www.cardinalsawardsdinner.com.