Five members of the Los Angeles Catholic community will be honored for their many years of service to Church and community at the 24th annual Cardinal’s Award Dinner Feb. 9 at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland in Hollywood.The 2013 honorees — Carmelite Sister Regina Marie Gorman, Elizabeth (Bitsy) Hotaling, John McNicholas, Tomás Pacheco and Stephen Page — bring to 120 the number of men and women honored with the award since 1990.Proceeds from the dinner will benefit Juan Diego House of Formation in Gardena, for college-aged men who aspire to priesthood in the archdiocese of Los Angeles. Reservations (which are required) may still be made. Visit the website at www.cardinalsawardsdinner.org or contact Judy Brooks in the Cardinal’s Office of Special Services, (213) 637-7636.Sister Regina Marie Gorman, OCDShe will tell you, with a smile and a gleam in her eye, that the first time she visited the Carmelite Sisters at their Sacred Heart Retreat House in Alhambra to attend a junior high retreat was because she thought she was going to a slumber party.Four decades after professing her first vows, Sister Regina Marie Gorman is Vicar General of her bustling religious order, chair of the National Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious, and a nationally-known and much-sought-after spiritual speaker and retreat leader. Those who attend her talks and retreats are certainly delighted by her ready smile and quick sense of humor — and they are just as impressed by her wealth of knowledge, her deep Carmelite spirituality and, most of all, her love of the faith.Growing up: Born in Detroit; moved to Glendora with her family; attended St. Dorothy School and St. Lucy’s Priory High School; graduated from Bishop Amat High School, La Puente; briefly attended Citrus College; studied at Mount St. Mary’s College; earned teaching credential at Cal Poly, Pomona, and Master’s in Christian Theology and Ministry at Franciscan University.Career and Activities: Entered Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles in 1972, professed first vows in 1975; taught junior high at local Catholic schools; served nine years as directress of novices, 12 years as Superior General; currently Vicar General; chair of National Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious. On the junior high retreat that changed her life: “Until then, my vocation was going to be as wife and mother. Well, I was ambushed; I had an experience with God where he literally slapped me off my horse and let me know that He had other plans for me. And I tried to talk Him out of it — but God doesn’t negotiate well.” On nurturing young women called to religious life: “We try to guide and shape young lives so that they are oriented to Christ’s call, that they become mature, holy, confident young adults. We have so many programs that they can explore. It’s about fostering a spiritual life, about learning what it takes to follow Jesus. It is important to take time so that the decision is freely made out of love. To follow Jesus, you need both hands on the plow.”On Venerable Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, foundress of the order in Los Angeles: “My life and my community can’t be separated from Mother Luisita. Her consistency and love is a tremendous source of consolation in times of challenge. And the welcome our sisters received when they came to Los Angeles is something for which we will always be thankful. When I travel, I am proud to say that I am from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I love and owe Los Angeles a great deal for the person I am.”Elizabeth HotalingIt doesn’t necessarily take a degree in child psychology to offer comfort to the sick (the Malades) in the baths of Lourdes. Or to participate in the Christ Child Society, making layettes and raising money for young mothers and their newborns. What it does take is a desire and commitment to serve others. For Bitsy Hotaling — who does happen to have a degree in child psychology — that desire to serve has been a part of her life. “Mother Teresa once said, ‘Like Jesus, we belong to the world, living not for ourselves but for others; the joy of the Lord is our strength,’” she says reflectively. “I have always liked reaching out, helping out whenever and wherever I am needed.”Parish: Holy Family, South Pasadena.Growing up: Grew up attending St. Brendan Church, L.A.; graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a degree in child psychology.Family: Husband Dick (married in 1955), daughters Elita, Marsi, Elizabeth and son George, numerous grandchildren.Career and Activities: Parish lector, Eucharistic Minister, garden ministry chair; Christ Child Society Pasadena leader; Dame of Obedience in the Order of Malta, president of the Order’s Los Angeles Location, member of the Hospitalite De Notre Dame De Lourdes (a Lourdes volunteer organization); cofounder of St. Ignatius of Loyola Guild at Loyola High School; Dame of St. Gregory and Lady of the Holy Sepulchre; board member for Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center and the Little Sisters of the Poor. On the example of her Catholic father and Presbyterian mother: “Mom and Dad were community-minded people, always doing something for others, and I guess I learned from them.”On first pilgrimage with the Order of Malta: “We knew some people who belonged to the Order, and we had been on pilgrimages — but never on one like this. But what a wonderful experience it has been, because we care for 50 Malades that we bring from the United States and we are with them for all the Malta functions throughout the week. They become our friends and we stay in touch with them when we return to the United States.”On being a “Dame of Obedience”: “This requires humility and additional prayer and means taking a step down rather than a step up to serve our Lord and others. I love everything we do for the Order of Malta, all their projects, all their charities.”On setting an example through service: “Dick and I have always been active in life. We don’t sit around, and that’s something we’ve tried to pass on to our children. And having watched us for so long, they’ve followed through; all of them are involved in their parishes, their children’s schools and their community. Dick and I feel very fortunate and very blessed to have each other, our family, and our faith.”John McNicholasFor John McNicholas — a former vice president of the State Bar of California whose clients have included the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Vatican — there could be no greater reward than to have helped raise a strong, loving and faith-filled family. “Actually, Dede — who always prepared a wonderful dinner — gets all the credit for our successes, mine and the kids’,” he says warmly of his wife of 56 years. But, so too has Dede’s husband had an impact on their seven children’s lives, and on those he has worked with and served, whether professionally as a lawyer or pastorally as a parishioner of St. Brendan in Hancock Park. It comes from a determination to practice courtesy, decency and integrity as vigorously as he practices law.Parish: St. Brendan, Los Angeles (Hancock Park).Growing up: Attended Cathedral Chapel School and Loyola High School, L.A.; degrees from UCLA and Loyola Law School.Family: Wife Diana (Dede), seven adult children (Erin, Brigid, Patrick, Courtney, Monica, David and Matthew), 14 grandchildren.Career and Activities: Veteran trial lawyer, partner in McNicholas and McNicholas, former vice president of the State Bar of California; has represented Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Vatican; Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums, Loyola Law School’s Board of Overseers and the Loyola Advocacy Institute; Executive Board of the Orders of St. Gregory, Malta and the Holy Sepulchre; a lector and member of St. Brendan’s Finance Council. On being taught by the Immaculate Heart of Mary Sisters: “I got all my faith in grammar school from the nuns. They were terrific, progressive, wonderful women who embedded the Latin prayers in me. And Sister Mario who taught me in sixth and seventh grade was one of my greatest influences — happy, jovial, loving and warm.”On having dinner with his family every night: “You make it a priority. We sat down every night in the dining room for dinner. It might be 7 o’clock, but they waited for me to get home, and we were together. It was a time to heal those who were wounded, and to bring down to earth those who were maybe a little too full of themselves. The key was to be with each other at the table, breaking bread, having a conversation. To paraphrase Father Patrick Peyton, ‘The family that has dinner together stays together.’”On treating others (including courtroom adversaries) with respect: “It’s part of maturing, being able to say, ‘I’m not going to let a situation get to that point where I lose control.’ And if you come out ahead, don’t take advantage of someone else’s situation; don’t rub their nose in it. It’s like we’ve always told our kids: Kindness is an inexpensive gift; just treat everyone like you would like to be treated. And give back generously in gratitude for what you’ve received.”Tomás PachecoAs befitting a lifelong baseball fan, a smile lights up Tomás Pacheco’s face when he reminisces about playing shortstop at age 15 for a bank-sponsored team in his native Yucatan, Mexico.But, as befitting a lifelong Catholic, an even bigger smile appears when he talks about the many years of work he has done in coordinating citizenship classes — and, especially, in coordinating activities on behalf of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.“If it is for La Virgen de Guadalupe, people will do it, whatever it is,” says the amiable parishioner of St. Andrew Church in Pasadena, who for the better part of two decades has been a principal organizer of local celebrations honoring “La Virgen.” He has also been active coordinating classes and workshops that help immigrants obtain their U.S. citizenship.Parish: St. Andrew, Pasadena.Growing up: Born and raised in Cansahcab, Mexico; came to the U.S. in 1960 at age 20 as a bracero.Family: Wife Adda Rosa (married in 1963), sons Tomás and Ivan, daughter Christina, two grandsons.Career and Activities: Machinist; coordinator of citizenship classes for immigrants in conjunction with National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; active in Guadalupanos, who promote activities devoted to Our Lady of Guadalupe, including the annual procession in East Los Angeles; (with Adda Rosa) sacristan and marriage and baptism class coordinator at St. Andrew’s. On coordinating citizenship classes, which gained national attention: “We were working with top government officials and presenting our workshops at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and people came from all over the U.S. to see how we did it, because we seemed to be doing a pretty good job. (In the 11 years that Tomás was active in citizenship work, 18,000 people became new citizens, a large number of them Catholic.) Some time ago, a woman came to me and said, ‘Eighteen years ago, you helped make me a U.S. citizen.’ That kind of thing gives me great energy; it is very satisfying.”On why he serves church and community: “I like to work with people. Anything that helps me bring others closer to God is where I want to be.”On longtime involvement with church activities: “After all these years, I still enjoy it, talking with the people, helping out in any way I can. Anything that helps the church, I will do it. It seems like Our Lady doesn’t want me to leave.”Stephen PageThe Jesuit mantra, “Be men for others,” has always stuck with Steve Page.“Most schools,” notes the Loyola High School and Loyola University alumnus, “will teach you critical thinking skills, but I’ve not seen the ‘Men for Others’ philosophy anywhere else. It makes you stop and think about how you live every part of your life.”In Steve’s case, it means remembering how people gave him help when — as the son of parents who ran a small grocery store in South Los Angeles — he needed it, and how he is more than happy to do the same for someone else. “I was fortunate,” says the retired corporate executive. “Someone helped make that happen for me, and I want to make that opportunity available to others.”Parish: Loyola Marymount University Community, Los Angeles; formerly St. Anastasia, Westchester.Growing up: Born in Los Angeles; attended St. Brigid Church; graduated from Loyola High School and Loyola University; earned CPA and JD degrees (Loyola Law School).Career and Activities: Retired corporate executive, having served as general counsel (for McCulloch), chief financial officer (for Black & Decker Corp. and United Technologies), and president (Otis Elevators); former board member of Catholic Charities (Baltimore and Hartford) and LMU Board of Regents; current board member, Catholic Education Foundation and Mount St. Mary’s College. Family: Wife Judy (died in 2009), sons Steve and Mark, daughter Kelly; several grandchildren.On growing up in South Los Angeles, where his parents ran a small grocery store: “Our parents had told us we weren’t going to follow them, that we’d be educated. Years later, when my mom died, we could be proud that all six of us had college degrees. Four had PhDs, four of us were CPAs, two had law degrees, and one was in the priesthood (Father Tony Page, the third oldest, is pastor of Beatitudes in La Mirada).”On his involvement with Inroads, an organization that introduces inner-city kids, many of them single-parent youth, to corporate America: “I led classes for college kids “to understand how corporate America works. In the process, you help them learn how to interview, how to dress, and find them summer employment. It was great to be involved outside of the workplace, to support the community, and to be able to help kids who need and appreciate it.”On sponsoring four scholarships at LMU and developing the Page Family Foundation with his adult children: “Education is a big deal in our family. We support education or whatever kids want to do to make a positive difference in the world.”On the Page family’s Christmas ritual: “Before the first present is exchanged, we go around the room and ask each other, ‘What did you do for charity this past year? What or who did you give to, and why?’ It really goes back to being men, and women, for others. The Jesuits taught us how to serve. And that’s how we have led our lives.”
Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus).