By Rose O’Connor | Correspondent
Madalyn Tusay was filled with gratitude as she welcomed all to the 23rd annual Mount Carmel Guild Gala.
PHOTO GALLERY: Mount Carmel Guild Annual Gala
“The work of the Mount Carmel Guild is absolutely so essential for the people of Trenton, and it really gives us an opportunity to put the message of the Gospel into action. It is so wonderful to be able to help our needy brothers and sisters who are so close to us geographically and yet far apart from us in the socio-economic spectrum,” Tusay, Guild sponsor, said Oct. 19 at the event held in the Trenton County Club.
The annual affair, which serves as a major fundraiser for the almost 100-year-old organization, honored 11 men and women who have made significant contributions to their home parishes, schools and local communities in both Mercer and Monmouth Counties.
Msgr. Michael J. Walsh, episcopal vicar of Mercer County and pastor of St. James Parish, Pennington, St. George Parish, Titusville, and St. Alphonsus Parish, Hopewell, led a prayer saying, “We are grateful for the vision, for the organization, for the service provided by the Mount Carmel Guild. We are grateful for all who make it possible: the leadership of the Guild and to all the people of our county who respond to the call so regularly.”
This year, the Guild recognized the following honorees: Peter Brennan, volunteer, Incarnation-St. James Parish, Ewing; Paula Dunne, volunteer, St. David the King Parish, Princeton Junction; Rose Gallagher, volunteer, St. George Parish, Titusville; Joann Held, liturgy coordinator, St. James Parish, Pennington; Peg Kowalski, ministry volunteer coordinator, St. Gregory the Great Parish, Hamilton Square; Beth Meagher, cantor, St. Paul Parish, Princeton, and teacher, St. Ann School, Lawrenceville;, Deacon Jeffery Pierfy, Our Lady of Sorrows-St. Anthony Parish, Hamilton; Robert Rushnak, volunteer, St. George Parish, Titusville; Ray Wadsworth (posthumous) and Jackie Wadsworth, volunteers, St. Paul Parish and the Princeton community, and Roger Zurro, charitable appeals and outreach, St. Mary Parish, Colts Neck.
Prior to the distribution of awards, Dominican Sister Loretta Maggio, the guild’s Emergency Assistance Program director, shared a client story.
In her reflection, Sister Loretta told of Margot and the homemade “Thank You” card she sent many months after receiving assistance.
“Dear staff, thank you for helping me with food monthly when I needed it. It’s so hard being homeless and helpless. I am finally at the destination I’ve longed to get to for a whole year. In Trenton, the agencies like yours are the ones the really helped me to survive. I’ll never forget the kindness you showed to me in my time of need,” Margot wrote.
After reading the note, Sister Loretta thanked those in attendance.
“Without your continued support, we would not be able to be there for all of those who fall through the cracks in our society. So on behalf of them, I say that this is your thank you card. Thank you and God bless you.”
The evening also included a keynote address by Sister of St. Joseph Pat McGinley, pastoral associate in St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville.
With wit and candor, Sister Pat, a past Guild honoree, acknowledged the contributions of those who were recognized.
“Service changes people; it gives more perspective and brings out the best in each of us. It gets us looking outward instead of inward. It prompts us to consider other’s needs before our own,” she remarked.
“The Mount Carmel Guild needs all your support, but just the same, we all need a Mount Carmel Guild to help us live life fully with a heart of service,” she said. “They need us and we need them so we can become the people we are called to be, living examples of Christ; living a happy life, a joy-filled life so that other people can see that and they can live their best life as well.”
Jackie Wadsworth spoke on behalf of her late husband, Ray.
“He’d be really proud,” she said. “ He’d be really proud of this honor. He was a wonderful man.”
While Peg Kowalski was honored to be recognized for her service to her parish and local community, she encouraged others to look outward and not hesitate when discerning a call to serve others.
“God does not call the qualified,” she said. “He qualifies the called.”