Catholic Charities’ Best

May 8, 2003
Catholic Charities’ Best
By Howie Mansfield
UTICA — Catholic Charities of Oneida/Madison Counties has given awards to outstanding community members annually. This year, the honorees epitomize the awards they will receive on May 14 at Oneida/Madison Catholic Charities annual awards dinner.

The Msgr. Daniel E. Lawler Award is given to an individual dedicated to community service and humanitarian needs. The award is named for Msgr. Lawler, who served Catholic Charities and diocesan parishes in the Oneida/Madison counties for 12 years.

Katherine Poupart, director of the Good News Foundation in Utica, will receive the 2003 Msgr. Lawler Award. Poupart has been an integral part of the Eastern Region’s collaborative ministry with the Diocesan Office of Youth Ministry, Catholic Charities, Office of Religious Education and Catholic Schools. Poupart has served as a member of the board of directors of Thea Bowman House in Utica and represents the Good News Foundation on the diocesan pastoral council. She is an active member of St. Mary of Mount Carmel Parish and is a member of its choir, liturgy committee and RCIA program. She is a board member of the Paraclete Justice and Charity Ministries, Inc. and is a member of the Foothills Girl Scout Council in Utica. “It’s a great honor and privilege to receive this award,” said Poupart. “Msgr. Lawler served at Our Lady of Lourdes in Utica when I was growing up. My father was parish council president and was good friends with Msgr. Lawler. He was a lovely man.” Poupart said when she was making a decision to stay in Glens Falls to teach or to come back to the Utica area, Msgr. Lawler was clear with his answer. “He said, ‘Come home, Kathy,’ and I did and I’ve been back ever since,” she said. “I knew how much he did for the community and how he cared for others. It’s just wonderful to be receiving an award named in his honor.”

The Distinguished Benefactor Award recognizes an individual or group that best reflects the mission of Catholic Charities to serve Christ’s people through service, advocacy, convening and empowerment. The Postal Employees Care About Kids Program will receive the 2003 Distinguished Benefactor Award. The various postal workers’ unions that participate in their Christmas giving program include Mail Handlers Union, Branch #309; American Postal Workers Union, Utica Area Local; National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch #375; National Rural Letter Carriers Association and National Association of Postal Supervisors. The Postal Employees Care About Kids Program has been in existence for 10 years. Each year at Christmas, Santa visits Catholic Charities’ St. Martin de Porres Youth Center, laden with gifts, toys and books. The program has been a tremendous resource to Catholic Charities.

For the second time, Catholic Charities is giving the Mother Teresa Peace and Justice Award. The award, named for Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity, honors a group or individual that lives out God’s love through service to others. Residents Encounter Christ (REC) is the 2003 recipient of the Mother Teresa Peace and Justice Award. Residents Encounter Christ is an inter-denominational Christian ministry modified for the prison environment. The REC team conducts REC weekends at the Oneida, Mohawk, Marcy and Mid-State Correctional Facilites. The ministry was founded in 1988. REC Weeks consists of 15 people who enter the prison for three days to share their faith. Many inmates have had life-changing experiences from the REC weekends.

Annually, the Dr. Ramakrishna Rao Award is presented to an individual who has helped the Catholic Charities’ mental health programs over the past year. The award is named for Dr. Rao, former director of the Mohawk Psychiatric Center, who worked with the mentally disabled. Bertha Morehouse will receive the 2003 Dr. Roa Award. Morehouse has been an advocate for the mentally ill for the last 20 years. She has served on the board of directors for Catholic Charities’ Community Support System Advisory Board, Family Services, the Neighborhood Center and Catholic Charities Incident Review Committee. She was active in shaping the development of case management services and Tempo Team Services of the Neighborhood Center. She and her husband, William, reside in Utica.

The Catholic Charities Annual Dinner and Awards Presentation will be held at Dibble’s Inn in Vernon. Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. with the awards ceremony to follow. The cost is $20 per person. For reservations, call (315) 724-2158 ext. 256 by May 10.

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