Tye honored at Catholic Charities celebration

Catholic Charities chairman Jeffery Kaneb, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, Tiziana Dearing and A. Raymond Tye are pictured at the Charities’ 2009 Spring Celebration May 21. During the evening Tye was presented with the organization’s Justice and Compassion Award. Pilot photo/ Lisa Poole

More than 500 supporters of Catholic Charities, including Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley and New England Patriots owners Robert and Myra Kraft, gathered May 21 at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum for the social services agency’s largest annual fundraiser--its 2009 Spring Celebration.

It was an evening Catholic Charities’ president Tiziana Dearing described as a “celebration of solidarity,” a term she said comes from Catholic social teaching to mean “a fundamental connection of our hearts and souls with each other.”

The spirit of a common human bond and a commitment to social justice pervaded the evening, during which A. Raymond Tye, a noted Jewish philanthropist and president of the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, was presented with Catholic Charities annual Justice and Compassion Award.

Initiated in 2007, the award is presented to an individual who embodies the values of charity, compassion and service to the poor and demonstrates those values in a proactive and tangible way.

During his introduction of Tye, Cardinal O’Malley tied together the Catholic commitment to building a civilization of love and the Jewish ideal of repairing the world.

“We have come here together tonight to renew our commitment to do just that: to repair the world and to build a civilization of love... or there will be no civilization at all,” said the cardinal.

Quoting Mother Teresa, he said: “Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”

In his acceptance speech, Tye said he was both honored and humbled by the award, but conceded that the work of helping those in need is not a calling, but an obligation. During these economic times, society depends on the work of Catholic Charities for the relief, direction and comfort of those who so badly need it, he said.

“Remember -- we can and must all do more,” he said. “As we are taught, to whom much is given, much is expected; and may we and our children remember: there is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of something better tomorrow.”

In her address, Dearing called the evening a celebration of many things, but in particular she called it a celebration of the awareness that the donors were lucky when they “rolled the dice,” and that their sense of justice drives them to make sure that those who “didn’t do so well on the last roll get a shot to roll again.”

Speaking with The Pilot after the dinner, Orazio Tartaglia of the New England Patriots said he is involved with Catholic Charities for a very simple reason.

“It is a great organization that does great work,” said Tartaglia. “People are going through a lot of things right now and the amount of support for Catholic Charities here tonight shows the true morale of people who can give at a time like this.”

Benefactors Frank and Mary Mahoney of Ernst & Young called it “energizing” to spend the evening with so many others who believe in the mission of Catholic Charities as they do.

“It makes you feel like whether it is through your faith or through your morals, you’re obligated to give back to your community,” said Frank Mahoney.

“Catholic Charities helps those without a safety net; it helps those that no one else would help,” he said. “It’s all about, as Mr. Tye said tonight, to those whom much is given, much is expected. So (to give) is a pretty easy decision to make.”

In total, the Celebration raised nearly $1.5 million for the programs and services of Catholic Charities through ticket sales and gifts from private benefactors and corporate sponsors.

The proceeds of the event will provide food, fuel and rental assistance for the poor and working poor; supportive services for children and families; and assistance to refugees coming to the Greater Boston area.

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