News & Updates
Thursday, May 18, 2023

Catholic Charities Boston Honors Social Justice Advocate and President of the College of Holy Cross Vincent Rougeau at 2023 Spring Celebration

The annual gala raises crucial funds to support the areas of greatest need across the Agency as well as recognizes individuals who exemplify the values of charity, justice, compassion, and service to those in need.

Catholic Charities Boston hosted more than 250 guests at its annual 2023 Spring Celebration Gala at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

This year’s John and Virginia Kaneb Justice and Compassion Award was presented to Vincent D. Rougeau, President of the College of the Holy Cross, for his work as a nationally respected expert in legal education and Catholic social teaching.

Honoree President Rougeau commended Catholic Charities for not only responding proactively to these needs across the community but for also honoring the inherent dignity of every person.

Cardinal Séan O’Malley, Shirley Small-Rougeau, Vincent Rougeau, and Dr. Kornegay-Rougeau

“Our brothers and sisters in need remind us that we can take nothing for granted in our outreach to them,” said President Rougeau. “They reach back to us to call us into community and membership with all members of our society. Our neighbors in need often appear in our blind places, but it’s organizations like Catholic Charities that point out the child attending school while hungry or the migrant seeking a safe haven. Catholic Charities represents the reciprocity of generosity, and that’s why this award means so very much to me.”

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, OFM Cap, thanked Catholic Charities for its tireless efforts in the community and for meeting all those in need with unconditional compassion, modeling the Catholic social teaching to love thy neighbor.

“When Jesus wants to teach us who our neighbor is, he chooses the most unlikely example to teach us that our neighbor isn’t necessarily the person who looks like us or talks like us or belongs to the same club and lives on the same street, but particularly the person who is in need,” said Cardinal Séan. “And that’s what Catholic Charities is about, discovering our connectedness, honoring the dignity of every human being.”

Addressing the donors, sponsors, and volunteers in the audience, he continued: “We are so proud of the wonderful work that is done at Catholic Charities, but it would be impossible without your support, your sacrifice, and your prayers.”

Kelley Tuthill, Chief Operating Officer for Catholic Charities, and Father John Unni, Pastor of Saint Cecilia Parish, served as emcees for the evening. Kevin M. MacKenzie, President & CEO of Catholic Charities shared highlights of areas of impact and momentum over the past year––opening a modern regional food pantry in Lynn, the newly renovated El Centro Adult Education Center in Jamaica Plain, the Agency’s launch of Welcome Circles in response to the Ukrainian War, and the expansion of the agency’s Healthy Families program into Boston, which supports first-time parents with young children.

Since 2007, the Spring Celebration Gala has raised funds for the Agency’s areas of greatest need and served as an opportunity to highlight individuals who exemplify Catholic Charities’ values of charity, compassion, and service. The award is Catholic Charities’ highest recognition and was renamed last year in honor of the late John Kaneb, beloved former Catholic Charities Boston Board member who assisted the organization until his death in August 2021, and his wife, Virginia, to commemorate their decades of generous support of the Agency.

Board Chair Mark Kerwin, Cardinal Séan O’Malley, Vincent Rougeau, President & CEO Kevin M. MacKenzie

Mark B. Kerwin, Chair of the Board for Catholic Charities, presented the award to President Rougeau. Prior to becoming the 33rd president of Holy Cross in July 2021, Rougeau served as Dean of the Boston College Law School and the inaugural Director of the new Boston College Forum on Racial Justice in America, a meeting place for listening, dialogue, and greater understanding of race and racism in America. Before his role at Boston College, Rougeau was a tenured law professor at Notre Dame Law School and served as their Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1999-2002.

Watch: Honoring President Vincent D. Rougeau
View: Photo Highlights of Spring Celebration 2023

Catholic Charities Spring Celebration is presented by United Way and the Cummings Foundation and raises crucial funds to support programs within the Agency’s core services areas of Basic Needs, Family & Youth Services, Refugee & Immigrant Services, and Adult Education & Workforce Development. We are grateful to all our event sponsors, partners, donors, and friends for the ongoing support and generosity of the Agency’s work serving those in need. To make a gift in support of Spring Celebration please visit

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