The diocesan Catholic Charities annual ball resumed with a bang Feb. 11 at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, shattering previous fundraising totals. The gala generated a record $1.625 million to support 21 Catholic Charities ministries and brought 700 guests together after a two-year hiatus
because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous high of $1.329 million was set at the last in-person gathering in 2020.
Attendees celebrated the ball’s 40th year in existence, during which time it has raised $20.7 million for a variety of causes. At the inaugural event in 1982, a relative handful of volunteers raised approximately $60,000.
In thanking those in attendance, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge reflected on the unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic and how the faithful across the diocese rose to meet them by supporting Catholic Charities programs, including rental assistance, food assistance and medical
care to the underserved.
“In the midst of all this, Christ has never left us,” he said. “And you are showing them his face.”
In 2021, Catholic Charities served 40,000 people, more than at any other time, said the organization’s President and CEO Stephen J. Carattini. He expressed his appreciation for the generosity of donors and volunteers who “make Jesus Christ come alive” for the clients of Catholic Charities programs
such as Christ House, Mother of Mercy free medical clinics and the St. Lucy Food Project.
These and other Catholic Charities ministries were featured in a video that was screened for attendees. It also highlighted several firsthand accounts of how adoption placement, refugee resettlement and income assistance efforts have improved lives.
Rashine Sturdivant of Woodstock became her family’s sole breadwinner when her husband lost his job. Stretching the wages she earned working for a large retail store to cover the family’s rent, car payments and other expenses was not possible. Catholic Charities’ Emergency Assistance
Program helped fill the gap.
“With (Catholic Charities’) help, it really put a smile on my face to know that I’m able to do what I need to do to support my family,” she said
During the ball, which featured its first-ever female master of ceremonies — Kelly McGinn of All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas — two individual Catholics and one diocesan parish received awards for their philanthropic efforts.
The James J. Matthews Legacy Award was bestowed on Mary Joe Barrazotto and posthumously on Jennie Lee Trapasso. Barrazotto, a lifelong Arlington native and parishioner of St. Agnes Church, was lauded for her steadfast support of Catholic Charities as well as involvement in the Service
League of Northern Virginia and in support of her parish school, which she and her three sons attended. Along with her late husband, Victor G. Trapasso, Jennie served on the original Catholic Charities Ball Committee and credited the agency with facilitating the couple’s adoption of two children. She passed
away Dec. 21, after living with cancer for four years.
Father J.D. Jaffe, pastor of Christ the Redeemer Church in Sterling, received the Bishop Paul Stephen Loverde Legacy Award in recognition of his parish’s commitment to serving the poor. Over the past 18 months, the parish has provided $800,000 in emergency assistance to families affected by
COVID-19, enabling them to remain in their homes, to provide for their children and get back to work.
Schweers can be reached at [email protected].