Clay and Linda King have been generous donors to ABCD — the Archbishop’s Charities and Development appeal — for more than 15 years. On Nov. 24, they were personally thanked for their generosity, not just by Archbishop Thomas Wenski, but by one of those they helped.
“They gave to ABCD and we got our debt paid off,” said Sister Rosalie Nagy, a Carmelite of the Most Sacred Heart who serves as principal at Archbishop Coleman Carroll High School in southwestern Miami-Dade County.
The school was burdened with a debt of $8.73 million, which the archdiocese has now paid off completely: $4 million last year, the other $4.73 million just a few weeks ago.
“It’s ABCD money. So we’re very grateful. I can’t explain it — even the morale of the teachers. They can breathe,” said Sister Nagy, who personally thanked the Kings after attending the 2013 Thanks4Giving Mass where they and two other couples were honored.
Clay and Linda King, members of St. Coleman Church in Pompano Beach, received the One in Charity award for their “constant support” of ABCD over the years.
Eddy and Ana Garcia of Immaculate Conception Church in Hialeah received the One in Faith award for their commitment to “spreading the Good News of our faith.”
Stuart and Johanne Harries of St. John Neumann Church in Miami received the One in Hope award for embodying “the four infinitives of stewardship: receives God’s gifts gratefully, nurtures God’s gifts responsibly, shares God’s gifts justly and sacrificially, and returns God’s gifts abundantly.”
The awards — instituted last year — match the slogan of the archdiocese’s annual ABCD campaign: One in Faith, One in Hope, One in Charity. They are given out at the Thanks4Giving Mass, hosted by the archdiocesan Development Office, which takes place on a Sunday near the Thanksgiving holiday and to which ABCD donors are invited.
Funds collected each year by the ABCD help support the charitable, educational, vocational and evangelization ministries of the archdiocese.
Stuart Harries said he was “shocked” when he found out he and his wife, Johanne, would be receiving the One in Hope award.
“So many people are deserving of it. It’s been an absolutely amazing surprise,” said the Peterborough, England native who came to Miami by way of Trinidad and settled in St. John Neumann Parish in 1983.
“I was in the Synod but so were 800 other people,” said Harries, president of an export/import company.
He was trying to figure out why he and his wife, who serves on the board of the MorningStar Renewal Center, would be tapped for the One in Hope honor. But he was quite clear on the reason they give to ABCD.
“Churches have been reopened. (Archbishop Wenski) has been very, very giving to the areas in need. That’s what is building the faith — inclusion of people in need. That’s why I think our money is really well spent,” Harries said.
“God wants us to give. He wants us to give generously,” said Clay King, an automobile dealer who grew up Methodist and became a Catholic when his daughter was in second grade. He and his wife Linda joined St. Coleman 15 years ago.
“There are many people in need in this community. Through our gifts, they can be lifted up and brought closer to God,” said Clay King.
The recipients of the One in Faith award are both principals of archdiocesan schools. Ana Garcia is principal of her alma mater, Msgr. Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens, and Eddy Garcia just took over as principal of St. Louis Covenant School in Pinecrest. He was previously principal of his alma mater, Immaculate Conception in Hialeah.
The Garcias’ son, Bryan, is completing his last two years of studies for the priesthood at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach. Their daughter, Jenise Garcia-Subervi, is a special education teacher at her alma mater, Immaculate Conception. And their youngest, Steven, who is studying at FIU, remains involved in the youth ministry at Immaculate.
Asked about her formula for ensuring that their children kept the faith, Ana Garcia recalled that “when Eddy and I met, we met at the youth group at Immaculate.” They continued their involvement in the parish throughout their married life, helping out with youth ministry, baptismal preparation and marital preparation.
As for their children, she said, “All three of their first outings were to Mass… It was just a natural thing.”
Garcia’s advice to other Catholic parents: “Live the faith. You teach by example. It’s not so much what you say but what you do.”
And make sure, she added, that “(Your faith) is part of who you are, not just something you do on Sundays.”