Legacy Society Luncheon celebrates generosity of members

By TAMI QUIGLEY Staff writer

“Thank you for your generosity. Because Jesus promised to be with the church till the end of time, your gift is especially significant because it goes beyond your own lifetime,” Msgr. Alfred Schlert, diocesan administrator, told those gathered for the Legacy Society Luncheon May 7 at St. Thomas More, Allentown.

Paul Acampora, secretary of the diocesan Secretariat for Stewardship and Development, welcomed guests.

In January 2007, Bishop Emeritus of Allentown Edward Cullen announced the establishment of the Legacy Society of the Diocese of Allentown to recognize individuals who have included a parish, school, diocesan agency or the diocese itself in their estate plan.

Today there are nearly 300 members of the Legacy Society. This year’s new members received a certificate and pin.

The Legacy Society is open to anyone who has arranged for a planned gift of any size. These gifts can take a number of forms, including direct bequests, charitable gift annuities, trust arrangements, gifts of real estate, life insurance or retirement plan proceeds.

Legacy Society member Father Stephen Halabura, pastor emeritus of St. Richard, Barnesville, retired to Holy Family Villa for Priests, Bethlehem, offered the invocation, and Acampora presented an overview of the Legacy Society.

Guests were invited to attend the noon Mass at St. Thomas More, celebrated by Msgr. Schlert, prior to the luncheon. Msgr. John Murphy, pastor of St. Thomas More, concelebrated.

Mark Smith, secretary of the diocesan Secretariat for Temporal Affairs and CFO of the diocese, gave a witness talk about the Bishop’s Annual Appeal (BAA) during the liturgy.

“The point of today is good food, good company and saying thank you to all of you in the Legacy Society,” Acampora told guests at the luncheon.

“The Legacy Society recognizes and honors individuals who make plans for the future of our Catholic faith in the Diocese of Allentown,” Acampora said.

“You have included parishes, schools, and other Catholic ministries in your wills, in your retirement funds, in your life insurance policies, and in other estate plans.

“Many of these gifts are small. Some are very significant. Altogether, the commitments that you and your fellow Legacy Society members have made will almost certainly top $10 million in the coming years.

“Since so many of those gifts will come as bequests, it is my sincere hope that we won’t see them for quite some time yet. Mostly because I am selfish. I truly enjoy your company.

“But we know for a fact that our time in this world is limited. Even when our days together are through, however, your generosity will be helping to share the Gospel message with children, adults, and families who are still on their journey.

“Thank you very, very much for your faith, for your generosity and for your promise to our Catholic future.”

New Legacy Society members this year are: David Bosich, parishioner of Holy Family, Nazareth; Thanh Dinh-Ngo, parishioner of St. Joseph the Worker, Orefield; Steve Ferko, parishioner of St. John the Baptist, Shillington; Mr. and Mrs. James McFadden, parishioners of St. Thomas More; Theresa Mihok, parishioner of St. Ann, Emmaus; and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mileto, parishioners of St. Benedict, Mohnton.

Also, Msgr. Thomas Orsulak, pastor of St. Peter the Apostle, Reading; Mr. and Mrs. Franklin Reedy, parishoners of St. John the Baptist, Shillington; James Stallone, parishioner of St. John the Baptist, Shillington; Geraldine Wernicki, parishioner of St. Ignatius Loyola, Sinking Spring; and Charles Wildoner, parishioner of St. Joseph, Jim Thorpe.