Diocesan Catholic Charities hosts its 36th ball

Elizabeth A. Elliott | Catholic Herald Staff Writer


The ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner in McLean was filled with more than 870 people dressed in their finest and united in their support for diocesan Catholic Charities Feb. 2.

The guests were there for the 36th Catholic Charities Ball, themed, “Faithful Servants, Grateful Hearts.” Bishop Michael F. Burbidge presented the awards, while Joseph and Bertha Braddock served as honorary chairs. Father Donald J. Rooney, pastor of St. Bernadette Church, was master of ceremonies. Mary Beth Carroll and Julie Theobald served as ball chairs, and Mary Anne and George Forrester served as special gifts chairs.

“The ball is primarily volunteer-run by people who have a great passion for Catholic Charities,” said Art Bennett, president and CEO of diocesan Catholic Charities. “People work on it 10 months a year. The dedication of the ball leaders is just incredible.”

Bennett stressed the celebratory nature of the event. “We are celebrating the resources we have been able to give to Catholic Charities which should enhance people’s lives,” he said.

Guests watched a video highlighting the programs of Catholic Charities, including new programs: the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic in Manassas, the Welcome Home Re-Entry program, the Retreat for People Facing Serious Illness and Catholic Charities USA’s Mobile Response Vehicle.

“Clearly, there are things we are doing that we wouldn’t be able to do without the ball,” said Bennett.

Robert and Mary Ann Nirschl received the James J. Matthews Legacy Award. The award was established on the 25th anniversary of the ball and honors the memory of Matthews, who turned the vision of the ball into a reality. Mary Ann began volunteering for the ball in 1984, served as special gifts coordinator in 1989 and ball co-chair in 1990. The Nirschls’ leadership at the Arlington Free Clinic helped Catholic Charities gather best practices for the Mother of Mercy Free Clinic.

All Saints Church in Manassas received the Bishop Paul Stephen Loverde Legacy Award, which recognizes the partnership between a parish and Catholic Charities. All Saints was recognized as being at the epicenter of Catholic Charities work.

Several Catholic Charities programs are located in Manassas, including St. Lucy Food Distribution warehouse, Hogar Immigrant Services, prison ministries, Migration and Refugee Services and the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic. Catholic Charities offers also counseling services at the parish and school students engage in works of charity throughout the year.


Reproduced with permission from the Arlington Catholic Herald.

Interested in seeing more photos and obtaining prints?

See the full photo album from the event at Jenifer Morris Photography. Password is "Charity"