Every year for the past fourteen years, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg honors individuals and a service organization that exemplify the generous and unfailing sharing of Faith and Love within the example of Christ and his Church. These people recognized, and those like them that toil in the vineyard of the Lord are truly "the salt and the light of the earth". Salt is meant to give flavor, to bring out the best, to heighten the appreciation of the gift received and given. Light is what we are called to receive from Christ and to be to the world and to each other, as we bring Christ to others.
Last evening was the Fourteenth Annual Communities of Salt and Light Award Dinner held at a local place called Stratigo's. It serves also as a fund raiser for Catholic Charities of Greensburg, whose Managing Director is Monsignor Raymond Riffle. Bishop Lawrence Brandt hosted the event.
Awards were presented to Richard and Joanna Stillwagon of Greensburg for Humanitarian Service. Richard is a high school classmate of mine and he and Joanna are graduates of Saint Vincent Prep and College and Seton Hill University respectively. We have stayed in touch over the years and they are fun people. John and Kimberly Dolan of Indiana (PA) were recipients of the Award for Philanthropy. And the award for Outstanding Human Services Organization went to Pregnancy Support Center of Alternatives. Yes based out of Connellsville, which for twenty-five years has provided a multitude of services for women who are pregnant and in need of alternate solutions. I know many of these volunteers personally through my days in Connellsville and Scottdale,and renewed many acquaintances. Their statistics were truly amazing for a small, volunteer group. Last year alone nearly 150 individuals made over 1,200 visits to the center for help, counseling, parenting classes, guidance, etc.
Bishop Brandt gave a powerful presentation on the outreach of the Church through Catholic Charities and other service avenues, and spoke passionately regarding the threats to religious liberty facing these organizations, churches and groups. He spoke of the great charity shown though this event, which , not including last evening, has seen $741,562.10 raised and distributed to the poor and needy in the Diocese, representing 7,211 individuals and families. Everything above the cost of the event goes directly to supplementing Charities outreach.
Dinner was fabulous, the company at table and at the event was warm and friendly, the reason for the event vital, the awardees were inspiring, and God's blessings abundant. What more could you ask for? Thanks, Catholic Charities of Greensburg.