At the 2012 Catholic Charities Foundation Gala held on April 28, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (at left), the archbishop emeritus of Washington, received the Voice of Hope award from Catholic Charities to recognize his many years of service. The award was presented by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and by Catholic Charities President and CEO Msgr. John Enzler.
At the 2012 Catholic Charities Foundation Gala held on April 28, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (at left), the archbishop emeritus of Washington, received the Voice of Hope award from Catholic Charities to recognize his many years of service. The award was presented by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and by Catholic Charities President and CEO Msgr. John Enzler.
This year's Catholic Charities Foundation Gala raised more than $2 million, and the April 28 event drew a crowd of 1,000 people to the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington. "Record numbers are coming to celebrate Catholic Charities," said Msgr. John Enzler, President and CEO of Catholic Charities.

The theme this year was "Share the Spirit of Hope, Light the Way." A video shown before dinner highlighted a few of Catholic Charities' 77 programs in 53 locations.

Interviews with people Catholic Charities has helped told stories of single mothers, homeless men and struggling kids. "People come to us with no hope," Msgr Enzler said in the video. "...Hopefully they leave saying, 'I'm on the right track.'" A woman at the end of the film says, "Everything was negative in my life and now it's positive."

After the video, Msgr. Enzler said, "I show you that video because I want you to see what you're doing tonight...People like you make things happen."

Addressing the guests, Cardinal Donald Wuerl said Catholic Charities exists "for people who need just a little bit of help, and you and I can't be there for all those people...Through Catholic Charities, we can be."

Then the cardinal used a metaphor to describe what Catholic Charities does. Cardinal Wuerl recalled sitting in traffic one day when he saw a little girl walking with her mother. The little girl was swinging her arms freely until a big truck passed by. It was then that she reached up to take her mother's hand. "All of us like to think we're making our way independently, and then comes that moment when you want to be able to put your hand up and someone will hold it just long enough to get through. That's what you do for 100,000 people every year," Cardinal Wuerl said. "...the next time they come to an intersection in life, they'll be able to put up their hand."

On behalf of Catholic Charities, Msgr. Enzler awarded Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, with the Voice of Hope Award, an award for people who have given of themselves to those in need through time, talent and financial contributions. Cardinal McCarrick advocated for DC Opportunity Scholarships and also helped open Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park, to expand educational opportunities for young people. A facility in Silver Spring that helps low-income people with a wide range of services from dental care to legal services is named for the cardinal.

"The most I ever was was a facilitator," Cardinal McCarrick said when accepting the award. "I shared your dreams."

Stacie and Lou Christopher chaired the benefit gala, which each year provides critical funding for Catholic Charities' outreach to the poor, at a time when local governments have cut programs and demand for help has increased.

Before the meal, Cardinal Wuerl led the prayer. "Keep us mindful of the blessings we receive so we can help others," he prayed.

With a staff of 800 people, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington meets the most pressing needs, serving more than 100,000 people annually in its programs throughout the District of Columbia and Montgomery, Prince George's, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary's counties in Maryland. Each year, more than 3,500 volunteers participate in Catholic Charities' programs in the archdiocese, including providing pro bono legal and medical services valued at nearly $20 million.