“If your homilies are always that good, I’ll be there every Sunday….and with an envelope!” laughed Mark Russell, emcee and entertainer of the crowd at the 26th Annual SOAR! Award Dinner held at the Mellon Auditorium last Friday evening.
Russell spoke of Fr. William Byrne (at left), the popular pastor of St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill (where Catholic members of the House of Representatives participate when they are in town), as he captivated the audience with his humorous acknowledgement of those religious who made a difference with their lives.
The event, an annual dinner, live auction and awards presentation, is the production of a Catholic organization serving elderly sisters, brothers and priests. Since its founding in 1986, SOAR! has given grants totaling over $12 million for the care of elderly nuns and priests throughout the U.S.
Dinner Co-Chairs Trish Cullen, Mary Donatelli and Genevieve Murphy were thrilled to recognize this year’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Awardees: the aforementioned Fr. William Byrne and Sr. Deirdre Byrne — his older sister — as he readily pointed out to the packed house.
While Fr. Bill serves at St. Peters, Sr. Dee Dee currently practices at the Spanish Catholic Center, helping to provide free and low cost health care.
*All photos credit Eddie Arrossi