April 27, 2018 - On April 17, more than 750 friends of the USA Northeast Province gathered for the 2018 Jesuit GALA. The event, held in Boston, had over 80 Jesuits in attendance and the evening honored Brendan and Kerry Swords with the Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam Award in recognition of their selfless work for the Society of Jesus and for others.
This year's GALA raised more than $1 million to support the Jesuit ministries of the USA Northeast Province.
Brendan and Kerry Swords have deep connections to the Northeast Jesuits. Brendan and his three brothers are graduates of the College of the Holy Cross, where his uncle, Rev. Raymond Swords, S.J., served as president from 1960 to 1970. Father Swords also led Regis High School in New York City, the Cranwell Preparatory School in Lenox, Massachusetts and Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine.
Kerry is also Jesuit educated, graduating from Boston College in 1993, and later receiving her MBA from Harvard Business School. She is involved with many influential Boston-area philanthropies, among them currently serving as a Trustee of Nativity Preparatory School in Jamaica Plain, a Jesuit-run middle school serving boys from low-income families throughout the city.
On the night of the GALA, three Jesuit highlight speakers spoke about their experiences in the Society of Jesus and expressed gratitude for the support of those in the room. This year's highlight speakers included Fr. Carsten Martensen, SJ, Fr. Walter Smith, SJ, and Fr. Kevin Spinale, SJ. A video screened the evening of the GALA highlighted the Swords' commitment to Ignatian ministries, specifically those that offer educational opportunities to those in need. Together, they are active as board members and generous supporters of many Jesuit and Catholic organizations in the Boston area, giving their time, talents and financial resources to improve the lives of others.
Father John Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus, in recognizing Brendan and Kerry at the event, commented, "Their commitment and devotion to Jesuit education is unwavering. Brendan and Kerry share our conviction that Jesuit education has the potential to undue injustice and inequality, and the Society of Jesus and partners like Brendan and Kerry Swords believe that a transformative Jesuit education will definitively orient our students and alumni to lives of competence, compassion and conscience."
Kerry, who braved terrible conditions to complete the Boston Marathon just one day prior to the GALA, referenced this year's rain-filled race during her speech. In the spirit of the marathon's motto, Together Forward, she called those in the room to work together to help those in need.
Brendan and I truly feel that we have been blessed, and we feel it's our obligation to use our God-given talents and abilities to help others who are less fortunate," she said. "In many ways, the marathon is analogous to life. We are all in this together, so let's help each other in the face of adversity and love, inspire and encourage one another along the way."