“Catholic Charities helps so many people in our city,” said Raul Fernandez, co-owner of the Washington Capitals and Wizards, “We are happy to lend our support.” Fernandez not only chaired the organization’s annual gala with his wife Jean Marie Saturday night at the Marriott Wardman Park, but also kept vigil over the event’s silent auction, which boasted such temptations as featured trips to Hawaii and Colorado, tickets to Taylor Swift and Beyonce concerts, and, of course, Washington Capitals packages.
The live auction was equally as exciting, including a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage to the Vatican, donated by Bethesda Travel, which went for 60K. Combined with a Café Milano dinner with Cardinal Wuerl (which got an unprecedented two donors at 40K each…) the night’s fundraising total came to $2.14 million. This broke last year’s $2 million record, making it their largest single annual fundraiser. Miracle #1.
Before dinner, Mrs. Fernandez told a packed ballroom of over 1,100 guests, “Miracles happen every day- where we live, work, and raise our children. Anybody who comes to our door is not refused and they get out the word about the work we do.” Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, meeting the most pressing human needs through 63 programs in 48 locations throughout the region, serves more than 126,000 men, women and children each year. Miracle #2.
And it would have been a miracle to get all of the event’s billed attendees into that room with the White House Correspondent’s Dinner taking place just down the road…. Instead, Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier — not wanting to get into too much trouble with Cardinal Wuerl — graciously taped his introduction to the live auction. A list of politicians followed suit — including Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Congressman Ryan (R-WI), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Vice President Joe Biden — digitally directing their good wishes to the audience.
Miracle #3 continues as a new generation steps up to become stewards for Catholic Charities. This younger crowd, together with those still young at heart, rekindled the mission — and kept the dance floor alive — well after dinner and into the night with the event’s first Young Professionals Afterparty, which featured The Ultimate New Wave ‘80’s show by the Spazmatics.