"Give me the youth, and I will give you the future." Fr. Vincenz Scheffels 1876
In February 2001, during Catholic Schools' Week, the Diocese of Buffalo initiated the "Celebrate Catholic Education Dinner" with a dedicated mission of providing needs-based tuition assistance for families across Western New York. Through the efforts of a dedicated committee, working with the Foundation office, the Dinner attracted an overflow crowd of Western New Yorkers to celebrate their belief in and support of Catholic education.
The dinner is the expression of the support and spirit of our community. It is the opportunity for foundations, corporations, parishes and educational institutions throughout Western New York to support our children and their schools. 100% of funds raised provide needs-based tuition assistance. It is also the vehicle to honor those organizations, individuals, universities and foundations across Western New York that have lived out the mission of Catholic education and positively impacted this community.
Inaugural guest speaker, Tim Russert, told the story of the impact of Catholic education. "I would not be here tonight if it were not for my Catholic education in Western New York."
At the event, Tim established the Sister Lucille Socciarelli / Father John Sturm Making a Difference Award. Through a video presentation Tim, (until the time of his death) had given this award each year at the dinner to outstanding teachers for their dedication and service to Catholic education and the students it serves. His son continues his father's presentation.
The Bishop's Medal recognizes the abiding value of a Catholic education in an increasingly complex world - an education based on faith, academic excellence, and a commitment to peace, service and discipline.
The evening is a celebration of the dedication, ingenuity, perseverance and the willingness to answer God's call.
The Dinner formerly known as "Making a Difference" has changed its name to GALA 22:6 from Proverbs "Train the young in the way they should go; even when old, they will not depart from it."