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Catholic Charities dinner raises $1.5M, bids farewell to Bishop DiMarzio

Celebrity Joe Piscopo participates in festivities honoring popular Bay Ridge attorney

October 20, 2021 Francesca Norsen Tate
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Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens raised $1.5 million at the recent 2021 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award Dinner, held at Cipriani Wall Street.

The annual event, which benefits the 160-plus programs and services of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens, was also a farewell for Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, who has chaired it for 18 years and who retires on Nov. 30.

Joe Piscopo, comedian, actor, musician, writer and radio talk show host, served as master of ceremonies and performed his Big Band tribute to Frank Sinatra. Piscopo was a cast member of “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s, and one of his “bits” was impression of Sinatra. Piscopo later moved into films, co-starring in the movie “Johnny Dangerously,” and since 2014 has co-hosted a morning radio show.

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During the program, Catholic Charities presented Michael Connors, Esq., partner at Connors & Sullivan, PLLC; and Domenick Cama, president and chief operating officer at Investors Bank, with the Bishop’s Humanitarian Award.

Said Connors, “The people at Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens are doing God’s work; by feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. I would like to thank all the employees at Catholic Charities and all those who supported the dinner.”

Rev. Msgr. Robert J. Romano, NYPD chaplain, and Rev. Msgr. John Delendick, FDNY chaplain, received the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award; Rod Gilbert, former New York Ranger, posthumously received the Ubi Caritas Award; and three Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens employees, Kathy Gilmore, Tara Kissoondial and Sally Worrell, received the John J. Farrell Award.

Comedian, actor, musician and talk show host Joe Piscopo was the evening’s master of ceremonies. Musical entertainers for the evening included his Big Band tribute to Frank Sinatra. Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens

Msgr. Romano extended the honor to the priesthood as a vocation and to the work of safety personnel. “It is an honor for the many priests who every single day do wonderful things. I accept this award for the members of the New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department, and for the many, many, many civilians who on September 11, 2001, helped to rescue 20,000 people,” he said.

The Bishop’s Humanitarian Award is presented annually to an individual who shows personal commitment to the well-being of the residents of the Diocese of Brooklyn, which also includes Queens.

Bishop Joseph Sullivan was an ardent advocate for social justice who dedicated more than 50 years to improving the lives of New Yorkers in need before being killed in an automobile crash last year. The Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award honors others who have followed in his footsteps by devoting their lives to the people of Brooklyn and Queens.

John J. Farrell was a former director of human resources for JPMorgan Chase and a long-time member of the Catholic Charities Board of Trustees. In his memory, the Diocese of Brooklyn established the John J. Farrell Award to honor employees of Catholic Charities who have dedicated 30 or more years of service to the agency.

The Ubi Caritas Award is presented for distinguished, unselfish support of human services as a reminder that true charity is the response of the human heart to God’s love for all people.

The 2021 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award Dinner is the last event that the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Ph.D., D.D., Bishop of Brooklyn, will co-chair for Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens following his official retirement.

“When we are ordained bishops, in the ceremony itself we are told that we have to be concerned for the poor, the stranger—anyone in need in our midst—and that doesn’t just mean Catholics, but it means everybody in the territory of our Diocese,” said Bishop DiMarzio.

“I have been so happy as bishop here because I know Catholic Charities does everything they can for the people in need. For those who are poor, those who are the strangers among us, and those with any kind of need, Catholic Charities does it and has done it well for so long. Especially during the last 18 months when the COVID situation was so grave,” he said.


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