By Mary Ellen Mahoney
If the Catholic Foundation had ears, they would be ringing! More and more often people are discussing the Catholic Foundation as being a good place to donate some of their hard-earned money.
During 2019, the Catholic Foundation has added new endowments at a very steady pace. People realize that by establishing an endowment within the Catholic Foundation, they can ensure that their favorite parish, school or diocesan ministry will receive financial support long after they have moved on to a better life with Jesus. Potential donors also understand that their donation will be overseen by not only the Board of the Foundation but also professionally invested by the Knights of Columbus Assets Advisors in compliance with United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines. Donors also enjoy the fact that in naming their endowment, they can remember a loved one in perpetuity.
Whether the entity to be benefited by an endowment is a school, church or soup kitchen, all recipients are extremely thankful for this much needed support. The first new endowment of 2019 was the Sacred Heart Church Education Endowment established to help Sacred Heart School in Groton remain strong into the future. Earnings from this endowment will help to offset rising tuition costs. Pastor Darius Dudzik, Principal Gail Kingston, and a task force of volunteers led by Bill Michaud, spearheaded the creation of this endowment.
Sharing the importance of this endowment Father Darius said, "Sacred Heart School has been educating and forming students for over 60 years. During its history, thousands of students have gained knowledge and wisdom and encountered the Lord and longed to put Him at the heart of everything they do. We hope that the endowment will help us to continue this valuable ministry to our youth and their families for the next 60 years and beyond and enrich the Church with committed and dedicated members." Dr. Kingston stressed, “The endowment was created so that any child that wanted a Catholic education would be able to afford it.”
Next, came the creation of the Theresa N. Reardon Endowment by her nephew, Thomas Zotti. Tom knew that Theresa had wanted to establish an endowment to benefit her church, St. Patrick Cathedral in Norwich. Tom felt that an endowment in his aunt’s name to benefit her church was a fitting memorial to her after her death.
He said, "Our Aunt T was a generous and caring soul who always tried to take of those people and things that mattered to her. Our family knew that while she was alive, but after her passing it has become even more evident. She would be thrilled to know we were able to create an endowment to help support her beloved St. Patrick’s into the future."
Later in the year, Susan and John Wronowski of Cross Sound Ferry, New London, decided that they wanted to fund a scholarship in honor of their dear friend, the late Monsignor Robert L. Brown who served the diocese for over 40 years as a parish priest and later as Chancellor, among a multitude of other diocesan and parish duties he performed. Knowing Monsignor Brown’s love of education, they decided that once a year, monies distributed from their endowment would be used for tuition assistance of a St. Bernard student who had a financial need coupled with exceptional moral character and a true desire to make a difference in the lives others just as Monsignor Brown did during his lifetime.
With this intention, Susan and John established The Wronowski Family Scholarship in Honor of Monsignor Robert L. Brown. Reflecting on Monsignor Brown, John Wronowski said, “Monsignor Brown touched the lives of our family in so many ways over our long and lasting friendship. He always took the time to say hello after mass, drop a note to see how we were doing and never missed the christening of one our new ferries nor the celebration afterwards. We loved how Monsignor Brown was always thrilled to get away for the day on his numerous ferry trips to Long Island, trips he would recount with such fondness. My family and I strongly feel that this endowment in honor of Monsignor Brown will ensure that his memory and the compassion he bestowed on so many of our lives will continue on.”
Last but certainly not least, Genevieve Rafferty, a former New London resident and teacher was remembered by the creation of an endowment bearing her name by her granddaughter, Seana Rafferty- Hanson, currently of West Virginia, Attorney Thomas Londregan, New London and Monsignor Randall, currently serving as Primer Consejero for the Papal Nuncio in Mexico City.
The Genevieve Rafferty Endowment will be used to support St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich. Speaking of her grandmother, Seana shared, “My Grandma Genn was a model of giving back to the community ever since I could walk. Whether it was gathering spare change for the church collection plate; books and clothing for children in rural and poor communities; writing letters to soldiers overseas who couldn’t be home with their families for the holiday season; reading to people in the hospital, and larger philanthropic projects as I got older; she inspired projects that would nourish the mind, body and spirit of other people.”
Monsignor Randall expressing the ability of this endowment to carry on Genevieve’s tradition of helping others said, “Mrs. Rafferty was known in St. Joseph’s parish, New London, for her beautiful smile and concern for social justice. She always wanted to help, but quietly and behind the scenes. She did so concretely with her time, talent and treasure, both in the US and abroad.;
Genevieve looked for situations and people who fell through the cracks and loopholes that life often brings. By donating to the Rafferty Endowment Fund, under the auspices of the Catholic Foundation, a person is assured that their money is invested correctly and used for the scope to which they had intended it. The Diocesan Bishop has a team of financial experts who manage the assets of the Foundation so that it can bear fruit to help people who might otherwise be forgotten. In this case, the Rafferty Endowment Fund continues to feed the disadvantaged who gather at the St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich. A small donation to this endowment renders Genn’s smile and heart to the people in need.
Please join us in thanking our current donors to the Catholic Foundation for their generosity. If you would like to donate to any of the now 36 endowments of the Catholic Foundation or are interested in establishing an endowment yourself, please contact this author, Mary Ellen Mahoney at either (860) 886-1928, ext. 113, or firstname.lastname@example.org.