Diocesan News

CCBQ Honors Five; Raises $1.8M At Humanitarian Awards Dinner

  • William Peterson, receiving his award from Msgr. Alfred LoPinto (left) and Father Patrick Keating, has been a financial adviser for many years. (Photos: Paula Katinas)
  • The Capris had the audience clapping and singing along to their medley of doo-wop hits.
  • Dr. Wayne Riley (center) with Msgr. Alfred LoPinto (left) and Father Patrick Keating, said he was deeply grateful to receive an award.
  • In his benediction, Father Patrick Keating remembered the victims of Hurricane Ian and prayed for their safe recovery.
  • Frank Russo Jr. owner of Russo’s on the Bay, shown receiving his award from Msgr. Alfed LoPinto (left) and Father Patrick Keating, congratulated his fellow honorees and said “It’s been a pleasure to serve with you.”
  • Bishop Emeritus Nicholas DiMarzio (fourth from left) with (left to right) Frank Naccarato, Sheila Maguire, Father Kevin Abels, Brian Long, Alma Mendez, Barbara Slattery, and Patrick Condren.
  • Eyewitness News Anchor Ken Rosato served as the evening’s master of ceremonies.
  • Msgr. Alfred LoPinto thanked the guests for coming to the dinner and contributing to the mission of Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens.
  • The silent auction featured several valuable items and attracted great interest from would-be bidders.
  • The vast ballroom of Cipriani Wall Street was filled with tables for the dinner.

By Bill Miller & Paula Katinas

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — William Peterson nervously looked out from the stage at roughly 1,000 people who came to see him and four other men honored by Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. 

“The last time I spoke before a crowd this size was — never,” he said. 

The joke drew laughter from people assembled for CCBQ’s 2022 Bishop’s Humanitarian Award Dinner on Sept. 29 in the Financial District of lower Manhattan. 

Moments later, they were giving a standing ovation to Peterson. He is the managing director of the investment management firm Neuberger Berman. 

Peterson, one of three people to receive the 2022 Humanitarian Award, had just described how in 1969, a young pregnant girl had no help from anyone. She was disowned by her family. 

“She was left homeless on the street,” Peterson said. “Yet this young girl remained determined to give birth to her baby, and Catholic Charities stepped in.” 

The organization supported the girl through the delivery of her baby boy. 

“Then the baby was placed in the care of a foster home overseen by Catholic Charities,” Peterson continued. “And nine months later, Catholic Charities coordinated the adoption — my loving parents. I was that baby.” 

Peterson said Catholic Charities cared about him before he was even born. He has gone on to serve on the boards of numerous charities, including several that help veterans deal with posttraumatic stress disorder. 

“It is truly amazing how things have come full circle,” Peterson said. “I am here today, and so are my children, because of the kindness, charity, and support that you, Catholic Charities, gave to a stranger. I have never forgotten how fortunate I am.” 

A standing “O” for Peterson was not the only appreciation shown by the audience. 

The event at Cipriani Wall Street honored five people for their philanthropy and leadership in helping CCBQ and other charities. 

Also receiving the 2022 Humanitarian Award were: Paul Capurso, president of the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters, and Dave Ferguson, senior vice president of E-J Electric Installation, Co. 

Dr. Wayne Riley received the 2022 Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Service Award. He is president of State University New York Downstate Health Sciences University. 

Frank Russo, Jr., owner of Russo’s On The Bay, accepted the 2022 Ubi Caritas Award. 

Finally, CCBQ presented the 2022 John J. Farrell Award to numerous 30-year employees who stood to be recognized. 

An estimated $1.8 million was raised during the event’s auction. Proceeds benefit CCBQ’s 160-plus programs and services. 

For example, CCBQ helps support parish-based food programs in the Diocese of Brooklyn. 

CEO Msgr. Alfred LoPinto noted that requests for CCBQ’s services have skyrocketed with the recent influx of migrants bussed to New York City from the southern border with Mexico. 

He said an average of 30-50 families from the border are waiting each morning outside CCBQ’s offices on Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn. 

He recalled a recent encounter with a woman who sought a coat for her little boy to wear over his T-shirt. 

“That’s what Charities is about — very simply, carrying out the mission of Jesus, of being His hands, and being His heart,” Msgr. LoPinto said. “You make that happen.”