Three Honored for Making a Difference at Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon


The 71st annual Cardinal’s Christmas Luncheon celebrated the Christmas season and the work being done to assist and create hope for New Yorkers in need.

Whitney and Clarke Murphy and Cathy Martine-Dolecki were honored for making a difference at the Dec. 5 event organized by the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities and the Ladies of Charity to benefit the women and children served by the agencies and programs affiliated with Catholic Charities in the archdiocese.

Whitney and Clarke Murphy, active members of the Convent of the Sacred Heart and St. David’s School communities in Manhattan, received the Spirit of St. Nicholas Award for their commitment to the community and those in need. Mrs. Murphy has worked at Lou Hammond & Associates and Lifetime Learning Systems since coming to New York with Clarke.

Clarke Murphy is the chief executive officer of Russell Reynolds Associates, a global search and assessment firm, and serves as a board member for the New York City Ballet and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

“We’re here for Catholic Charities,” Clarke Murphy said in accepting the honor. “I had a lot of things to say but it all falls away. We have to act. The world needs us in these Catholic Charities. For those at St. David and Sacred Heart communities, Whitney does carry the spirit of St. Nicholas every day, 12 months a year. For the 1,000 of us here, we need to do the same. We have to think about the acts of kindness.”

Clarke Murphy closed his remarks by recalling something St. Madeleine Sophie Barat said in the 19th century, “Let us leave acts, not words. Nobody will have time to read us.

“So the challenge for us in an uncertain world is those acts, and may we all connect as Catholic Charities does to make a difference in people’s lives,” he said.

Ms. Martine-Dolecki was recognized for her dedication to improving the lives of the less fortunate by receiving the Christmas Angel Award. She is one of AT&T’s highest-ranking female executives.

Ms. Martine-Dolecki said the commitment to children in education she shares with her husband Ron comes from their families, especially their grandmothers who were both widowed at a young age. Her father’s mother raised two children during the height of the Depression with help from St. Francis Xavier parish in Chelsea. Her husband’s grandmother raised 10 children with assistance from the St. Patrick’s parish community outside Buffalo.

“So it’s for those very reasons, we’ve been committed to children in education,” said Ms. Martine-Dolecki in receiving the award. “My mom spent her whole career in education at a local high school in Brooklyn, Bishop Loughlin. The Christian Brothers, Sisters of Charity and Sisters of St. Joseph helped me get to where I am today. So with that, I accept this award with great sincerity and great appreciation.”

About 1,000 people attended the luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria, which also was a fund-raiser for Catholic Charities. Rosanna Scotto, co-host of Fox 5’s “Good Day New York,” served as master of ceremonies.

Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities, delivered the invocation, and Mary Buckley Teatum, president of the Ladies of Charity, made opening remarks.

“As we prepare to celebrate the feast of Christmas, let us all think of one act of kindness that we can do for the less fortunate,” Ms. Buckley Teatum said. “As Pope Francis recently stated at the closing of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Catholic Church’s focus on God’s mercy must continue with individual acts of kindness and assistance to the poor.’’

The St. Raymond School Choir from the Bronx performed Christmas songs and Ryan Speedo Green from the Metropolitan Opera used his bass-baritone voice to do the same.

Cardinal Dolan read the Gospel according to St. Luke as children of St. John Chrysostom School in the Bronx came on stage for the Christmas Tableau.

The luncheon concluded with Cardinal Dolan joining the St. Raymond School Choir and Speedo Green in singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

“We cherish this season, do we not?” Cardinal Dolan said. “I don’t know about you, but we usually find ourselves asking why can’t this go on all year. Well, guess what, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, approaching its centennial next year, has as its sacred mission to keep Christmas going all the time, providing hope, providing help, creating hope. So I’m glad you’re here because you help us do that.”