WASHINGTON (CNS) — Two prominent Catholic families who have supported church-based charitable causes and the Catholic Church for years were honored by the Leadership Roundtable for their philanthropy.
The Rooney family, owners of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Elaine and Kenneth Langone, co-founder of The Home Depot, received the roundtable’s J. Donald Monan SJ Distinguished Catholic Philanthropy Medal at ceremonies Sept. 22 in Washington during the roundtable’s Catholic Partnership Summit.
“The Rooneys and Langones exemplify the strong commitment to faith and the generosity of both resources and spirit that was the hallmark of Father Monan’s life,” said Geoffrey T. Boisi, Leadership Roundtable founder.
The Washington-based organization seeks to impart the laity’s expertise in key aspects of church governance. It established the award to “thank and inspire philanthropists of the Catholic faith” who personify the vision of Father Monan, a Jesuit who was the longest serving president of Boston College and worked to spread Jesus’ mission through partnership with ordained, religious and lay Catholics.
The Rooney family was honored for its long years of philanthropic support of Catholic charities, institutions and education. The Langones were recognized as longtime supporters of Catholic education and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
Jim Rooney, grandson of Art Rooney Sr., founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1933, accepted the award for his family. He recalled studying under Father Monan at Boston College and said that receiving the medal named for the priest “is humbling.”
“Faith, family and football are strong values among my family, and no more important to us than our Catholic faith,” he told the audience. “It has been the catalyst for much of what we have been blessed to accomplish, from my father’s creation of the Rooney Rule to bring equity to leadership in football, to our continued support of Catholic education and social services in Pittsburgh.”
Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik credited the senior Rooney, who died in 1988 at 87, for forging “a path of servant leadership through his ongoing service to the church and those in need.”
“He invited the rest of the family to follow that same path,” the bishop said.
In accepting the award, Kenneth Langone said his service as a St. Patrick’s Cathedral trustee and his involvement in the church’s restoration “was a very precious part of my feeling that I was doing what I can to help people live a better, more spiritual life.”
“I think those of us who been blessed with experience in business have a very strong obligation to do what we can to help the spiritual leaders in our faith do as much as they can with whatever resources they’re given,” he said. “I really feel that is a strong moral obligation on all our parts.”
The Langones have supported Catholic education, particularly Partnership Schools and the Inner City Schools Foundation in New York.
Pope Benedict XVI made Langone, 86, a Knight of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great.