FALL RIVER — Jesuit Father Matt Malone, who in 2012 at the age of 40 became the youngest editor-in-chief of the national Catholic news weekly America, will be the featured speaker at the 20th annual St. Mary’s Education Fund Fall Dinner.
The Fall Dinner will take place on Wednesday, October 22, at White’s of Westport beginning with a 5:30 p.m. reception.
Proceeds from the event benefit the St. Mary’s Education Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to students attending Catholic elementary and middle schools throughout the Fall River Diocese.
It was during Father Malone’s tenure as chief editor that America published the wide-ranging and groundbreaking interview with Pope Francis, “A Big Heart Open to God- A Conversation with Pope Francis.”
Beyond his work in America, where he covered U.S. politics and foreign affairs from 2007 to 2009, his writing has appeared in numerous national and international publications; he has been featured in The New York Times and The Washington Post among others.
Father Malone was born and raised on Cape Cod and attended Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville and Christ the King Parish in Mashpee while growing up. He entered the Society of Jesus in 2002 and was ordained a priest in 2012. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and holds a master’s degree from Fordham University, a bachelor of Divinity degree from the University of London and a bachelor’s in Sacred Theology from the Catholic University of Louvain.
Before entering the seminary, he served as founding deputy director of MassInc, an independent political think tank, and co-publisher of CommonWealth, an award-winning review of politics, ideas and civic life. Earlier in his career he was chief speechwriter for former U.S. Representative Martin T. Meehan.
The annual Fall Dinner is one of two principal yearly fund-raisers to support the St. Mary’s Education Fund, which has since its inception in the early 1990s provided financial help to over 8,000 students at Catholic elementary and middle schools in the diocese. During the 2013-14 academic year, more than 700 families students received $548,265 in tuition aid from the Fund.
The Fall Dinner will feature a reception and extensive multi-course meal followed by a brief program and Father Malone’s presentation.
Longtime Fall Dinner committee member Sandra L. Sevigney, who is First Vice President and a retirement plan specialist at Plimoth Investment Advisors, has stepped up to serve as chairperson of the event this year.
She and committees working in four areas of the diocese are now reaching out to businesses and individuals to extend an invitation to sponsor a table or purchase a ticket for the Fall Dinner in support of tuition assistance.
“The Fall Dinner is the culmination of the efforts of all of the volunteers, bringing together like-minded people of the diocese who have the same goal: to make it possible for every child, regardless of their family’s financial means, to benefit from a Catholic education,” Sevigney explained.
She went on to say that the motivation behind her work for the St. Mary’s Education Fund is “the knowledge that the Fund enables children to grow and achieve in the safe, nurturing and supportive environment of a Catholic school where they can also grow in their faith.”
Over the past several years, the Fall Dinner Committee has incorporated into the evening program the presentation of the Timothy J. Cotter Friend of Catholic Education Award to recognize longtime outstanding support. This year the award will be presented to Fall River Bishop Emeritus George W. Coleman for his contributions to Catholic Education.
Leading the Fall Dinner area committees are, in Attleboro, Paul M. Lenahan; in Fall River, Nicholas M. Christ; in New Bedford, Carl Taber; and in Taunton, Rick Clark.
Sevigney encourages all who are able to support the Fall Dinner and, by doing so, the St. Mary’s Education Fund.
“Our children are our future,” she said, “and this is a way we can truly make a difference in many children’s lives.
Those interested in supporting the Fall Dinner or obtaining more information on the St. Mary’s Education Fund, should contact Sevigney, any area committee chair, or Jim Campbell at the Diocesan Development Office at 508-675-1311.