Lumen Dinner benefits Catholic education with nearly $80,000 in assistance

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PROVIDENCE —The diocese has released finalized figures from its 2015 Lumen Gentium Awards Dinner which show that $79,489 in proceeds from the event was awarded to students in Catholic schools across the diocese in the form of tuition assistance, with the goal of helping to make a Catholic education more affordable for students whose families are in financial need.

A total of 83 awards were given out, with an average award of $958. Of these, 40 elementary schools were provided awards totaling $27,844, with an average award of $696, while 43 secondary schools were awarded a total of $51,645, with an average award of $1,201.

For each of the past three years in which it has been held, the Lumen Gentium Awards Dinner — which honors local men, women and young people for their personal holiness and service to the Church — has been committed to using the proceeds from the event to help organizations benefitting those in need in the diocese.

In 2013, the dinner raised $50,000 in proceeds which were used to benefit Emmanuel House, a homeless shelter operated by the diocese in the former Carter Day Care Center on Public Street.

Last year, the dinner raised about $75,000, with the proceeds donated to 75 food pantries, soup kitchens and nutritional programs serving those in need across the diocese.

“So much good work goes on each day in our Diocese,” said Msgr. Albert A. Kenney, diocesan vicar general and moderator of the Curia, and leader of the Lumen Gentium Committee. “The Lumen Gentium Awards provide an opportunity to recognize outstanding members of our diocesan family. It has been a joy to honor them for their service.”

“I am especially glad that the funds raised this year will provide for Catholic education,” he added. “Our Catholic schools ensure a future full of faith in our Diocese. The funds raised make possible a Catholic education for those in need.”

Daniel J. Ferris, diocesan superintendent of schools, said the generous gift is helping many families who struggle to provide a Catholic education for their children.

“The money raised through the Lumen Gentium Awards was an invaluable gift,” said Ferris. “No one can measure the true impact it will have on families in need who desire to put their children in Catholic schools or are struggling to keep them there.”

In 2012, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin convened a committee to establish the annual program to recognize individuals, groups and organizations for their service to the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Providence. The bishop established the Lumen Gentium Awards in 2013 to be presented in 10 specific categories to recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding service to the church in their parish, the Diocese of Providence and/or the local community-at-large.

This year’s Lumen Gentium Awards – named for the central document of the Second Vatican Council – were bestowed in May during a banquet attended by more than 900 at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln. The next Lumen Gentium Awards Banquet is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Nominations for recipients of the award will be open in January.

“Bishop Tobin was so wise to initiate these awards,” Msgr. Kenney said. “He saw the faith-filled contributions of so many throughout Rhode Island and wanted to recognize them in a fitting way.”