Several Catholic groups are following the lead of The Catholic Spirit and honoring local people and groups for their outstanding efforts on behalf of good causes.
The Catholic Spirit’s ninth annual Leading With Faith Awards luncheon — see story and honorees at http://thecatholicspirit.com/featured/2010-leading-with-faith-winners/ — kicked off the fall season.
In late October the Office for Marriage, Family and Life of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis named its “2010 Champions for Life”: Ginny Sullivan, a teacher at Nativity of Our Lord in St. Paul, who for 20 years has helped generations of students take her lessons about aiding pregnant women into adulthood; teenager Patti Durham, a parishioner at St. John the Baptist in Savage who helps handicapped peers at Burnsville High; Merlyn and Bernadine Scroggins, who have opened their home seven times to pregnangt girls in need; and to the Respect Life Groups of South Central Minnesota, who pooled their resources to bring pro-life speakers to their communities.
A week later, many in a crowd of Catholic Community Foundation boosters were wiping the mist from their eyes when the nation’s largest community foundation serving Catholic philanthropy gave is 5th annual Legacy of Faith Award to Jerry and Delores Slawik.
It was at a lunch that the Slawiks had with Archbishop John Roach and local builder Larry McGough that the Catholic Community Foundation was established, and that might have been cause enough for the Slawiks to be honored. But there’s more to the story.
The death in a boating accident of Jerry’s younger brother, Skipper, was the inspiration for the the Skipper Slawik Foundation, designed to help pay the tuition of students who other wise couldn’t afford to attend Catholic and private high schools. The Slawik’s themselves used to review all the applications, but in 1996 asked the aid of the Catholic Community Foundation to assist. The Skipper Slawik Foundation has distributed more than $14 million and aided more than 1,000 students. Eyes started to mist up when testimonials were read from some of those 1,000 students, thank you notes to the Slawiks for helping them attend schools that they never thought possible.
Delores Slawik shared the credit with members of the extended Slawik family, the staff of the Catholic Community Foundation, and especially Judy Sheehan, who has worked for the Skipper Slawik Foundation for 56 years.
“I think God is with us (in remembering Skipper through this scholarship fund). He was a little boy frozen in time, and Jerry has kept his memory alive.”