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Maureen Orth to Speak at Catholic Education Dinner | News

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Maureen Orth to Speak at Catholic Education Dinner
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Maureen Orth to Speak at Catholic Education Dinner

On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Diocese of Buffalo will hold its 13th annual Making a Difference Dinner for Catholic education.  The dinner, held at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, will feature awards and guest speaker Maureen Orth, author and special correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine.  Orth is also the wife of the late Tim Russert, former moderator of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The dinner is the major fundraiser for Catholic education in the diocese.  Proceeds will be used to fund needs-based tuition assistance for students attending Catholic elementary schools throughout the eight counties of Western New York.  To date, a record amount of $349,000 has been raised with 1,200 guests expected to attend.

“The tuition assistance granted to families across Western New York has opened doors to a high quality, faith-based education for young children throughout the diocese,” said Mark and Mary Hoffman, dinner chair couple.  “Without this assistance, many deserving children would not be in our schools, would not be learning in a safe, nourishing environment, and would not have an opportunity to receive a strong grounding in faith and community.”

For the 2012-2013 school year, nearly 1,700 students, both Catholic and non-Catholic, are attending Catholic schools through this effort, with an average grant of $969.  The average family income of these recipients is $32,303 and there are hundreds of children currently on the waiting list.

At the dinner each year, the diocese recognizes people or institutions for their unwavering support of Catholic education. This year’s recipients are The Joy Family Foundation and women religious, past and present, who founded and taught in the Catholic elementary schools in the diocese.

Also at the dinner, Sister Carol Cimino will be introduced as the new superintendent of Catholic Schools for the dioceses.  He appointment was announced on Jan. 26.

In 2001, the first year the dinner was held, the Tim Russert, was the guest speaker.  That year, he announced the establishment of an award for teachers named after two of his former teachers, Sister Lucille Socciarelli and Father John Sturm.  Russert introduced the recipient of the Sister Lucille Socciarelli - Father John Sturm Making a Difference Award at the dinner each year via video tape.  Since his death, Russert’s son Luke has taken over.  This year’s recipient of the teacher award is Mary Jane Liszewski, a third-grade teacher at Immaculate Conception School in East Aurora.

Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, will offer comments at the end of the evening; this is the bishop’s first year celebrating Catholic schools in the Diocese of Buffalo.

For more information, to donate or for tickets, please call the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo at 847-8370.  The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:40 p.m. and the closing prayer is scheduled for 8:45 p.m.

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