On Saturday, September 10, 2022, more than 265 guests attended a regional fundraising dinner at the Dallas Country Club to raise money for the Franciscan Foundation for the Holy Land’s (FFHL) scholarship, employment and housing programs. The annual dinner was held for the first time in two years due to the pandemic. The gala was a huge success, raising over $253,000 to support the mission of FFHL.

Deacon Kenneth Reisor presided over the event as master of ceremonies. Honored guests included: Most Rev. Gregory Kelly, Auxiliary Bishop of Dallas who gave the invocation; the Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, D.D., Bishop of Venice, Florida who gave the closing benediction; and special guest, Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D., President, University of Dallas.

Keynote speaker Sister Deirdre Byrne is an active missionary sister. She is board certified in family medicine and surgery and retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of Colonel after 29 years of service in the military. Her apostolate has been performing overseas medical missionary surgery and providing free medical care for the poor and uninsured. Now retired, she is the Superior of the D.C. Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts House near Catholic University where the sisters run a pro-bono physical therapy clinic and diabetic eye clinic.

The Guardian of the Holy Land Award was presented to Mr. Robert R. Matejek and the Pope Leo XIII Gold Cross of Honor Award was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Walo. These prestigious awards are given to individuals who have not only demonstrated an outstanding love of God in their personal lives, but have upheld the truth, the reality, the faith and the hopes of the Holy Land.

FFHL is grateful for the hard work and efforts of dinner co-chairs Ed and Terry Lunch, Nick and Julie Summerville and honorary chairs Kip and Martha Rolland that made the event such a success. The dinner committee and FFHL would like to express their warm gratitude to all in attendance and those who could not join them for the evening yet still contributed through their prayers and resources.

For information about how to join FFHL’s Dallas, Texas regional fundraising volunteer group, visit our website. One of our Dallas volunteers shared, “We are proud of the work we are doing to help our Christian Brothers and Sisters in the Holy Land.”

The Dallas group’s vision statement is: Create a support base in the Dallas Region that assists FFHL in carrying out their mission through spiritual journey and monetary support. Their mission statement is: FFHL Dallas Region is a local subset of FFHL whose mission is to protect Christianity in the Holy Land through education and awareness efforts of the importance of this issue. Their primary objective continues to be to grow the connection between the Dallas community and our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.