October 29, 2017 – Sue Strachan
The St. John Paul II Award has been given once a year since 1996 by the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans to a layperson or permanent deacon who models Christian stewardship and has an outstanding record of volunteer service, high moral character and exemplary values.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond presented the award on Oct. 19 to Sharon Rodi at the foundation’s 32nd Annual Dinner in the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel’s Grand Ballroom.
Rodi is a retired attorney, right-to-life advocate, former director of Catholic Charities Refugee Social Services program and a member of the foundation’s Board of Directors. Her husband of 52 years, Mark Rodi, their daughters and spouses Shannon Rodi Nash and Michael Nash, and Erin Rodi Rotolo and Brian Rotolo attended the even to cheer her on.
Previous award recipients in the audience were Mary Jane and John Becker (2005), Mary Ann Valentino (2007), Betty Lauricella (2009), Hon. Jay C. Zainey (2014), Anne and Jack Dardis (2015) and Marilyn Quirk (2016).
New this year was a video highlighting the foundation’s community-wide impact, featuring commentary by Archbishop Aymond, Superintendent of Catholic Schools Dr. RaeNell Houston, Project Lazarus Executive Director Steve Rivera and Monsignor Christopher Nalty, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish.
The dinner crowd included foundation Executive Director Cory Howat with Molly Howat, foundation board President Ralph Cox with Patricia Cox, Patricia Hotard, who served as chair of the event committee along with co-Chairs Anne Dardis and Cindy Nolan — accompanied by husbands Jim Hotard, Jack Dardis and Mike Nolan — Susie and Pat Veters, Mary Matalin, Jane Nalty with son Monsignor Christopher Nalty, Stacy and Jim Pellerin, Darlene and Mark Robert, Ann and Gordon Stevens, Yvette and Gregory LaCour, Fr. Tim Hedrick, Wendy and David Vitter, Pat and Gregory Kahn, Betty Lauricella, Sue and Bill Finegan, Bette and Alan Arnold, Connie and Tom Kitchen, Fr. Ronald L. Calkins, Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes and Fr. Kyle Dave, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belle Chasse, who closed the evening by leading a recessional of “Let There be Peace on Earth.”