Support for Bishop’s Annual Appeal helps Morrises expand their family
By TAMI QUIGLEY
“Thank you for supporting Catholic Charities so that I could find my family!” 8-year-old Matthew Morris exclaimed.
Does a reason to support the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) get any better than that?
One of the many ways BAA provides for those in the Diocese of Allentown is by helping to expand families through adoption and serving children with special needs.
Matthew also thanked everyone who supports Mercy Special Learning Center, Allentown through BAA. “I love my school!”
So BAA has played an integral role in the life of Matthew and his family.
Charles and Kathi Morris, parishionersof Holy Family, Nazareth, adopted Matthew four years ago through Catholic Charities, Diocese of Allentown, though he has been with them his whole life.
The couple also has three biological children and another adopted son, and is fostering a 1-year-old girl – but that’s just semantics. They are all their children – they are a family.
Rebecca, 14, graduated from Holy Family School and will attend the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts this fall. Julianne, 12 and Benjamin, 9, are students at Holy Family. Dominic, 3, who they adopted through Catholic Charities, will begin preschool at Mercy this fall.
Kathi Morris volunteers her time for a number of parish activities. The couple has also fostered a number of children through the former foster care program of Catholic Charities. Both Matthew and Dominic came into the family through a SWAN adoption after being with the Morrises in foster care.
She recalled it was a “great opportunity” to express the family’s gratitude by publicly speaking at a BAA kickoff a few years ago, as well as speaking about BAA at Holy Family at the request of Father Joseph Tobias, pastor and member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.
“We really have benefited from BAA and all those who contribute.” Matthew, who is autistic, is entering his fourth year at Mercy, and Kathi Morris can’t say enough about the school. “It’s a wonderful school. I’d never send him anywhere else. I’m thrilled with the staff and the progress he’s made.”
One very special aspect of Mercy’s impact on Matthew has profoundly touched Kathi Morris’ heart: the way the school helped him understand Communion.
“Now he loves going to Mass and receiving Communion,” Kathi Morris said.
She gave kudos to Matthew’s teacher Diane Schultz and Jane Serino, who will be Dominic’s preschool teacher.
“I’m impressed with how loving they are,” Kathi Morris said of the Mercy faculty and staff. “I wouldn’t have Matthew go anywhere else. I feel I have to protect him. Mercy has done an outstanding job making him want to learn and also developing his faith.”
She said the “kids have blended well” together as a family, with the older ones being very helpful with the younger ones.
For example, Rebecca helps coach Special Olympics gymnastics with Matthew, and Julianne is Matthew’s swimming buddy in Special Olympics. “Ben runs cross country and track for Holy Family CYO with Matthew. Now Dominic wants to run a little.”