FALMOUTH — The Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) Summer Gala to support student scholarships was back in-person on August 5 at the Coonamessett Inn in Falmouth. This marks the 30th year of FACE (formerly known as the St. Mary’s Education Fund) providing scholarships to students and families in need throughout the diocese. 

FACE has raised millions of dollars in scholarship aid for Catholic school students in need throughout the Diocese of Fall River since it began. Last year, FACE awarded scholarships to almost 1,000 students totaling more than $1.4 million. And, almost $17 million over the last 30 years.

Committee member Janet Daley, with Jack MacKinnon and daughter Julie Houle, and Mike Daley at the recent FACE Summer Gala in Falmouth.

The master of ceremonies, Billy Costa, welcomed guests for an evening of inspiration and hope, followed by the invocation led by FACE board member, Father George Bellenoit. 

The FACE Summer Gala Committee, led by Chair Elizabeth O’Brien, a current parent at St. John Paul II School, worked together for months to plan an exciting event to raise visibility and support for FACE and the importance of scholarship support. A special in-person thank you was extended to last year’s FACE Un-Gala co-chairs, Pat and Jim Gonet, parishioners at St. John the Evangelist in Pocasset.

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., presented the 2021 Al Makkay Sr. Friend of Catholic Education Award to a dedicated and well-loved member of the Catholic school community, Margaret Keras, who has served as business manager at St. John Paul II School since 2013. St. John Paul II School President, Chris Keavy said, “Margaret embodies dedication, selflessness, and service to others in her daily work and makes St. John Paul II School a better place. Business managers do a lot more than keep the books and Margaret Keras is an unsung hero for all she contributes. Bravo!”

Bishop da Cunha also had the unique opportunity to recognize last year’s Al Makkay Award recipient in-person. Sandro Correa, facilities director at St. Pius X School in South Yarmouth, received his award during the FACE Un-Gala. Correa plays a critical role in keeping the school safe for students and staff, especially throughout this last year.

Guests enjoyed amazing food stations and a lively program including a Live Auction and a Fund a Mission while reconnecting and enjoying each other’s company, all while supporting a great cause. 

Bishop da Cunha, S.D.V., presented the Al Makkay Sr. Award to Margaret Keras, of St. John Paul II School in Hyannis, at the recent FACE Summer Gala.

This year’s FACE Summer Gala raised almost $170,000 for Catholic school students in need in the Diocese of Fall River. These scholarships are made possible thanks to all of the sponsors and donors who made the commitment to continue to support FACE even throughout this challenging year. Special thanks go out to all the generous donors.