A crowd of the over 1,300 benefactors and volunteers of the Franciscan Collaborative Ministries (FCM) gathered at the organization’s first donor appreciation event on Sept. 26 at the St. Clare Theater on the Assumption Church/FCM campus. The event honored the Knights and Dames of Malta as recipients of the Blessed Mother Marianne Cope Community Builder Award. The award is presented annually to the individual or organization who epitomizes the spirit, courage and vision of this heroic woman; who is willing to take risks in pursuit of community building and to advocate for the poor, hurting and marginalized; and who embodies social justice and Gospel values that effect change in Syracuse.
Noreen Falcone accepted the award on behalf of the fraternal organization that dates from the Crusades, and she thanked the FCM for creating the opportunities for the Knights and Dames to help in so many ways on Syracuse’s Northside.
John Sindoni, a lawyer with Hiscock & Barclay, a committed leader at FCM since it was founded a decade ago and whose family has deep roots on the Northside and at Assumption Church, was given the St. Clare Achievement and Service Award as the individual within FCM whose outstanding achievement and unselfish service to its mission truly advanced its collaborative ability to meet the many needs of the communities it serves.
The late Friar Phil Kelly, who died a year ago and served at FCM, was the posthumous winner of the St. Francis of Assisi Peacemaker Award as the individual (or organization) in Syracuse who by example and effort has demonstrated the true meaning of community through the advancement of peacekeeping and non-violence. He was the key figure at FCM who worked with the Northside community in the establishment of the Freedom Garden that was dedicated shortly after his death. Father Justin Biase accepted the award on behalf of Friar Kelly and the Franciscan Friars.
Guests at the donor appreciation event were entertained by a spectacular performance of David Etse Nyadedzor’s Adanfo, a West African drum and dance troupe and Northside favorite that recently returned from its west coast summer tour.
Also a Knights and Dames of Malta panel discussion and question/answer segment was lead by Knights and Dames Dennis Owen, Noreen Falcone and Patrica and Paul Fallon, who shared the history of the Order from the 11th century and discussed its works locally, nationally and internationally.
Biscotti Café catered the event that included their famous cake-of-your-choice carving station. Donor guests then toured FCM’s ministries to see how their support was helping in the food pantry, Poverello Health Center, the legal clinic, The Franciscan Place, St. Clare Garden Apartments and volunteer services.