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The 2017 Pope Leo XIII Fundraising Gala

Michael P. Coneys, Chairman and President of the Board of Directors of The Leo House, proudly presented the Inaugural 2017 Pope Leo XIII Fundraising Gala honoring his Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan on December 11, 2017. The evening featured the renowned Catholic author and speaker, Fr. James Martin, S.J. (e.g., Building a Bridge, My Life With the Saints, Jesus: A Pilgrimage, Editor-at-large of America Magazine), who delivered the keynote speech.

2017 Pope Leo XIII Fundraising Gala Details:

Monday, December 11, 2017
The Yale Club

50 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017

Cocktail Hour 6pm | Dinner 7pm


His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Keynote Speaker

Father James Martin

2017 Pope Leo XIII Award Fundraising Gala

The Inaugural 2017 Pope Leo XIII Award Fundraising Gala took place on December 11, 2017 at The Yale Club in Manhattan with 230 guests in attendance. Guests came from all over New York City, as well as NJ, CT, TX, IL, WI, PA, NC, MA, MI and VA.

The origin of the Pope Leo XIII Award in the United States connects to the Archdiocese of Chicago and Bishop Bernard J. Sheil (1888-1969) and was recently discovered in the Chicago archdiocesan archives recently by Father James Heyd. The transfer ceremony of the award from Chicago to New York took place during the 2017 Gala and representing the Archdiocese of Chicago were Father James Heyd and Father George Clements. The priests told the story of the Chicago award, why it was dormant and of discovering it in the Chicago Archdiocesan archives. The first New York recipient of the award was Timothy Cardinal Dolan. Due to illness, Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara of New York accepted it for him.

Master of Ceremonies, Father Jonathan Morris

Master of Ceremonies for the evening’s event was Father Jonathan Morris, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the Bronx.

Keynote Speaker, Father James Martin, S.J.

Father James Martin, S.J., editor at large of America Magazine and bestselling author of many books was keynote speaker. He delivered an address on the life and legacy of Pope Leo XIII. An engaging speaker, his message was well received and enjoyed by all in the audience.

Juilliard Musicians, Maria Im and Nicole Thomas

Providing a medley of songs, combining the National Anthem and “America The Beautiful” at the beginning of the program were Juilliard musicians, Violinist Maria Im, and Mezzo Soprano, Nicole Thomas.

The German Christmas song, “O Tannenbaum” was chosen to end the evening program because the lyrics refer to the fir tree’s evergreen qualities, the same embodied by The Leo House during its 129-year old history, namely constancy, endurance, and faithfulness.

Gala Guests

Guests arrived from many parts of New York City, and other parts of the country as well as NJ, CT, TX, IL, WI, PA, NC, MA, MI and VA were all represented. Leo House staff were in attendance and adding spirit to the dinner menu was Will Ouweleen from upstate O-Neh-Da Vineyard who donated the red and white wines served with dinner.

Leo Feroleto, Art Curator of The Leo House and also Owner of Six Summit Gallery, provided three sculpture pieces created by Ailene Fields from her series “Sacred Spaces.” Sculptures on display were available for purchase and can currently be viewed at The Leo House if you simply inquire at the front desk.

That festive evening there were thirteen Sisters of St. Agnes seated at table 13 who were honored and applauded. Their names are Sisters Pat, Joann, Vicki, Marilyn, Mary Ann, Trish, Germaine, Mary Ann. The CSA congregation is known to have sent the first caretakers of The Leo House.

About the Pope Leo XIII Award

The Pope Leo XIII Award is administered by the Leo House Board of Directors through its Board Selection Committee. The award seeks to recognize Catholic clergy, religious and lay persons or organizations who best embody the ideals and values most cherished by the late Pontiff. The award also recognizes those who have served faithfully to advance and enhance the pontifical legacy and heritage of Leo XIII. The Pope Leo XIII Award remains the only national award in the United States honoring the name of a pontiff.

About His Eminence Cardinal Dolan – Our 2017 Award Recipient


Timothy Michael Dolan (born February 6, 1950) is an American cardinal of the Catholic Church. Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, Dolan serves as the tenth and current Archbishop of New York. Dolan served as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2010 to 2013.  During this time he was granted the titular position as Cardinal-Priest of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe a Monte Mario (English: Our Lady of Guadalupe of Mount Mario) in Rome. Dolan is widely known for his conservative values and charismatic media personality. He previously served as Archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009, preceded by service as an Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis from 2001 to 2002. Time named Dolan one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” for 2012 (Wikipedia.org).

History of The Pope Leo XIII Award

The origin of the Pope Leo XIII Award in the United States connects to the Archdiocese of Chicago and Bishop Bernard J. Sheil (1888-1969).The Pope Leo XIII award was given out annually by Auxiliary Bishop Bernard Sheil, founder of the Catholic Youth Organization (“CYO”) in 1930. An outspoken advocate for the working class, Bishop Sheil’s hero was Pope Leo XIII, also a defender of the working class and so named the annual award after the Pontiff. When Bishop Sheil died in 1969 the award became dormant, but was discovered in the Chicago archdiocesan archives recently by Father James Heyd. After Bishop Sheil’s death, the Award continued until 1978 when it was discontinued. No Pope Leo XIII Award has been presented in the United States since that time.

In early 2017, Fr. James Hyde of the Archdiocese of Chicago, happened upon the history of the dormant Pope Leo XIII Award in archival documents. In staying at the Leo House in New York City, the Catholic guesthouse named in honor of Pope Leo XIII, Father Hyde spoke with Leo House Executive Director David J. Smith. The suggestion was made to “resurrect” the former Chicago-based award and to present it annually. The award is now tailored to, and under the auspices of, the Leo House of New York City.

About Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) is the oldest serving Pope to date (reigning until his death at age 93). In addition, he holds the third longest pontificate behind Pope Pius IX and Saint John Paul II. Due to his issuing eleven Papal encyclicals on the subject of the rosary, he is known as the “Rosary Pope.” Championing intellectualism, he attempted to define the Catholic Church in modern thinking. He inspired the Catholic faith in the youth around the world. Standing up for the rights of workers, he supported fair wages, safe working conditions and the formation of unions. Pope Leo influenced Roman Catholic Mariology, or the systematic study of the person of Mary, mother of Jesus. Pope Leo XIII was a tireless friend and protector of German immigrants arriving in the United States, specifically in New York.