Catholic Charities will hold its 15th Annual Gala Sunday, March 12, from 2-5 p.m. at DeSales University.
One of the largest human services organizations in the region, Catholic Charities provides vital services for thousands of individuals and families each year throughout Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill counties.
Catholic Charities helps those who are hungry, those battling mental health issues, veterans at risk of homelessness, families seeking refuge from the devastation of floods and other disasters, and adults and children in need of assistance, safety, and compassion.
Catholic Charities operates soup kitchens in Allentown and Pottsville, a community center in Allentown, and multiple food pantries. The agency helps everyone in the community: seventy-five percent of Catholic Charities clients are non-Catholic.
A primary source of funds for these programs and services is the agency’s annual gala, which this year will honor Father John Gibbons, Pastor of Immaculate Conception B.V.M. and Sacred Heart of Jesus parishes in Allentown, and Paul and Patty Huck, parishioners of St. Joseph the Worker Church in Orefield and long-time supporters of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Allentown.
The Gala will begin at 2:00 p.m. in De Sales University Center, in Center Valley. Bishop Alfred Schlert will be in attendance, as well as Msgr. David James, Vicar General for the Diocese of Allentown. The event will feature a live auction with Diocesan “celebrity auctioneers,” a silent auction, wine pull, raffle, and presentations to the honorees.
The afternoon start time represents a format change for this year, as compared to previous galas. The event will begin with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. The 3 p.m. program will be followed by food stations for guests to enjoy.
Andrea and Damon Neagle will serve as Gala Chairpersons. Other committee members are Evelyn and Anthony Carfagno (past co-chairs,) Jane and Von George (past co-chairs,) Kristin Keenan, Zachary Konopka, Lisa Geosits, Murtaza Jaffer, Michele Mullikin, Ginny Downey, Pam Russo, Lori Mergel, Rob Nicolella, Robert Olney, and Julie Scheck.
Background on Father Gibbons:
Reverend John M. Gibbons, III is the son of John and Jeanne (Harris) Gibbons, Jr. of Center Valley. He attended Lanark School, Center Valley, and Center Valley Elementary School; St. Joseph’s School, Limeport; Southern Lehigh Middle School, Center Valley, and graduated from Southern Lehigh High School. He also attended Brisson Seminary at Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University,) received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University of Delaware and a Master of Divinity from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Father Gibbons is the Diocesan representative of the social concerns department of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference. Prior to his current assignment, he also served at St. Ignatius Loyola, Sinking Spring; St. Bernard and St. Michael, Easton; St. Peter, Reading; Our Lady Help of Christians, Allentown; St. Anne, Bethlehem; St. Margaret, Reading.
He also has served as community organizer for the Social Action Bureau and on the Diocesan Council of Priests.
Background on Paul and Patty Huck:
Paul Huck was a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy for seven years. He worked for Air Products for 34 years, the last nine as the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Paul coached local youth wrestling and baseball for many years. He was a board member of Sacred Heart Hospital for 21 years and served as Chairman for the last nine. He is currently a member of the St. Luke’s University Health Network Board. He is the Chairman of the Eastern Pennsylvania Scholarship Foundation, which raises tax credit scholarship funds for the Diocese’s schools. He is also the Chairman of the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania, which raises endowment funds for the Diocese’s parishes, schools, and ministries.
Patty Huck graduated from Ohio University. As a loyal Navy wife and devoted mother, she was the foundation of the Huck family as Paul traveled the world for Air Products. Patty taught in the PREP program at St. Joseph the Worker parish for many years, as well as serving as a school volunteer, tutor, and pre-school teacher at the Sunshine Center and St. Joseph the Worker School. She has served on the executive committee of the Diocese of Allentown’s Women’s Society of Giving since its inception in 2019 and is a member of the Bereavement Committee at St. Joseph the Worker parish.
The Hucks, along with some of Paul’s classmates from the Naval Academy and their wives, run a charity that benefits severely wounded veterans by honoring them at the annual Army/Navy football game and providing them and their families assistance for their special needs.
They also have served as members of the Catholic Charities Gala committee, including chairing the event several times.
History of Catholic Charities:
Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Allentown was founded in 1941 under the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and incorporated in 1961 as Catholic Social Agency when the Diocese of Allentown was founded. The agency’s name was officially changed to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown, in 2005 to more clearly reflect the work that is done on behalf of those who are poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged.
Anyone can support Catholic Charities by attending the gala, becoming a sponsor, purchasing an advertisement in the gala program, or by making a direct gift. Visit the Catholic Charities website at www.catholicharitiesad.org, or contact Julie Scheck, at 610-435-1541, ext. 342, or 610-871-5200, ext. 2216 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information.