St. Bonaventure University will honor two men and a mission for their selfless contributions to the community at its Gaudete Medals ceremony April 18 at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo.
Being honored with medals will be Dr. Khalid J. Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York; Rev. Msgr. David G. LiPuma, vice chancellor of the Diocese of Buffalo and secretary to Bishop Richard J. Malone; and St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy, a non-profit organization that offers services to the poor in Buffalo. Co-founders Amy Betros and Norm Paolini will accept the award on behalf of St. Luke’s.
St. Bonaventure’s Gaudete (gow-DAY-tay) Medal honors business and community leaders who exemplify the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi through their joy, hope, positive outlook on life, sincerely compassionate spirit and desire to serve humankind. Recipients of the Gaudete, which means “Rejoice!” in Latin, have inspired, encouraged and enlightened others through their personal and professional lives.
For more information on Gaudete event sponsorships and individual tickets, contact Anne Goergen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-375-4085. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by the medal presentations. The public is invited.
Dr. Khalid J. Qazi is the founding president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York (MPAC-WNY), professor of medicine at University at Buffalo School of Medicine, and program director for the Internal Medicine Training Program for Catholic Health System.
Qazi devotes much of his time to promoting diversity and the advancement of civil rights for American Muslims. He was named a Buffalo News Outstanding Citizen in 2002 for being a “strong, reassuring voice of reason” after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and has remained actively engaged in communities across Western New York and the country.
Qazi devotes much of his personal time promoting interfaith understanding and the advancement of civil rights and homeland security through MPAC-WNY, a public service agency working for the civil rights of American Muslims; for the integration of Islam into American pluralism; and for a positive, constructive relationship between American Muslims and their representatives.
Qazi’s community activities include serving on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Independent Health Foundation, Board of Trustees of Islamic Society of the Niagara Frontier, Board of Governors of the Network of Religious Communities, Muslim Public Affairs Council (National Board) and WNY Council of Imams.
Qazi has been honored with the Brotherhood/Sisterhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews in Buffalo; the Diversity Award by Leadership Buffalo for his outstanding community work and leadership style; Laureate Award and Mastership from American College of Physicians; recognition awards from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security; and numerous other civic and medical professional awards.
Originally from the Kashmir, he moved to Buffalo more than 35 years ago with his family to practice medicine. He is married with three children and four grandchildren.
St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy is an independent Roman Catholic mission in Buffalo, founded by Betros and Paolini at the site of the former St. Luke’s parish on Walden Avenue.
Betros was a restaurant owner and Paolini a cancer research scientist at Roswell Park when their paths crossed in 1992 on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal. They developed a strong friendship upon their return to Buffalo and, in 1993, after learning that St. Luke’s church doors had closed, Betros said they were led by the Holy Spirit to purchase the complex.
St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy opened on Aug. 1, 1994. The mission does not receive money from the government or the Diocese, but relies on the generous donations of individuals and corporations.
Sixteen lay missionaries work at St. Luke’s, with most living at or around the mission and spending all of their time devoted to carrying out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
St. Luke’s provides meals for the hungry; clothing and household items; shelter for the homeless; shelter for men with addictions; is a designated Code Blue warming Shelter; visits to the sick and imprisoned; burial of the dead; and music ministry services.
Rev. Msgr. David LiPuma is secretary to Bishop Richard J. Malone and vice chancellor for the Diocese of Buffalo.
A Buffalo native, Msgr. LiPuma’s duties include taking care of the bishop’s day-to-day schedule, agenda and appointments; preparing background information for pastoral visits; and writing correspondence for the bishop. He also serves as master of ceremonies, assisting Bishop Malone at Masses.
As vice chancellor, he assists Msgr. Paul A. Littwin, chancellor of the diocese. The chancellor’s office manages the diocese’s archives, and prepares, stores and disseminates diocesan documents.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1987 by Bishop Edward D. Head, Msgr. LiPuma has also served as secretary to now Archbishop Henry J. Mansell (1997-2004) and Bishop Edward U. Kmiec (2004-2012).
A graduate of Wadhams Hall Seminary College in Ogdensburg, Msgr. LiPuma was also awarded degrees from North American College and Gregorian University and Pontifical Athenaeum Sant’ Anselmo, all in Rome, Italy.
Msgr. LiPuma is a fourth-degree member of the Knights of Columbus and is on the Board of Trustees at Nardin Academy in Buffalo. His awards include the Brothers of Mercy Humanitarian of the Year Award and the St. George and Bronze Pelican awards, given by the Buffalo Diocesan Catholic Scouting Committee.
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