Maria Aragona installed as president of Catholic Lawyers Guild

Six honored at annual dinner including past President Dominick Napoletano

May 21, 2019 Rob Abruzzese

The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, Diocese of Brooklyn, held its 44th annual awards dinner at Gargiulo’s Restaurant in Coney Island last Thursday at which it honored six and installed Maria Aragona as its new president.

Hon. Kenneth Sherman installed Aragona during a ceremony. Janet McFarland, Betsey Jean-Jacques and Gianna Famulari were also installed as new board members, Yolanda Guadagnoli became the new first vice president and Gregory Cerchione was named treasurer.

The now immediate past President Dominic Famulari was presented with a president’s medal for two years of service to the guild.

“There can be only one,” joked Cerchione, who gave Famulari the medal. “But in recognition of all of the hard work and effort you put in over these last two years, I, on behalf of the guild and the board, present you with this medal.”

Prior to the installation, the guild held an award ceremony at which it recognized six including past President Domenick Napoletano with the St. Thomas More Award, John Famulari with the President’s Award, Hon. George Silver with the Ecumenical Award, Hon. Thomas Aliotta with the Distinguished Jurist Award, Keith Olarnick with the Hon. William T. Bellard Award and Father Peter Mahoney with the Special Recognition Award.

In his remarks about Olarnick, the Brooklyn Supreme Court chief court reporter, Cerchione explained that the Hon. William Bellard Award is meant as a great honor to a person recognized as truly devoted to the legal community and administration of justice.

“This year’s recipient, Keith Olarnick, lives up to the spirit of this award,” Cerchione said. “He has served our community as a court reporter since 1992 and has been in charge of 80 court reporters as a supervisor since 2009. All of the trial lawyers in this room know the importance of the court reporters.”

Justice Silver joked that while “ecumenical” is a tough word to include in a speech, he was touched to receive an award from a religious organization that is not of his own.

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“To get an award from an organization from a religion that is not your own really means so much because it means that you are doing the right thing,” Justice Silver said.

When Dominic Famulari presented John Famulari with the President’s Award, he joked that the best thing about being president was being able to honor his father, who works alongside him at their law firm on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge.

“Most of you know my dad, but you might not know that before he was a lawyer, he was a public school teacher,” Dom explained. “He was able to touch the lives of a lot of young children, fifth graders and sixth graders, and have a very positive impact on them. I get to work with my dad and his former students will still come on occasion and thank him for all that he has given them. Some have even gone on to law school because he sparked something inside of them. It’s a very impressive thing.”

Cerchione wrapped up the evening by presenting an award to Napoletano, a close friend of his. He discussed their friendship and Domenick’s devotion to the Catholic Lawyers Guild, and explained that the same things that make Dom a good friend make him a good lawyer.

“There is truly no better friend than Dom,” Cerchione said. “He is principled, he has a true sense of right and wrong, and he is passionate and intense in both his practice of law and in personal matters.”

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