FADICA Honors Three Catholic Leaders for Outstanding Contributions to Church and Philanthropy

Pictured above left upper corner: FADICA President & CEO Alexia Kelley, Dr. Reynold Verret, and FADICA Board President Dr. Mike Wolohan; Right: Terrell Richardson (center) with Dr. Mike Wolohan (left) and Alexia Kelley (right); Left lower corner: Dr. Mike Wolohan, Gayle Benson, FADICA Board Member Sr. Jane Wakahiu, LSOSF, PhD, and FADICA President & CEO Alexia Kelley.

At its national gathering in New Orleans in February, FADICA the Catholic Philanthropy Network bestowed the St. Katharine Drexel Award in Catholic Philanthropy to Terrell Richardson, the St. Joseph of Arimathea Medal of Service to Dr. Reynold Verret, and the St. Mary Magdalene Medal of Service to Gayle Benson.

The St. Katharine Drexel Award in Catholic Philanthropy recognizes individuals for exemplary and outstanding contributions to philanthropy on behalf of the Catholic Church and the common good. Terrell Richardson has outpoured support to the New Orleans Archdiocesan Office of Black Catholic Ministries, a generosity that has revived the Office’s Annual Gospel Music Festival, an evangelization event for the Archdiocese, and provided needed support for children through school supply and toy drives.

“Through her deep faith and generosity, Terrell Richardson has lifted all of us through her example of generosity and leadership for young people and her commitment to vital Black Catholic ministries,” said Alexia Kelley, President & CEO of FADICA. “She exemplifies the Catholic philanthropic vocation of St. Katharine and the mission of our Church.”

The St. Joseph of Arimathea Medal of Service, named for the leadership service shown by St. Joseph of Arimathea, recognizes a leader who assumes considerable personal responsibility of the Church’s mission. Dr. Reynold Verret, President of Xavier University of Louisiana, was a 2024 recipient.

Dr. Verret is the sixth president and second lay leader of Xavier University of Louisiana, founded by St. Katharine Drexel and the only Catholic Historically Black College or University in the nation. He will lead the University as it enters its Centennial year in 2025.

“We are privileged to honor Dr. Verret, whose legacy of leadership has forged ways for all students to succeed,” said Kelley. “His building up the Kingdom of God has been nothing if not humble, bold, and steadfast.”

The St. Mary Magdalene Medal of Service recognizes someone who shares their time, talent, and treasure with the Church. Through the Gayle and Tom Benson Charitable Foundation, Gayle Benson provides generous support to a wide range of charitable causes, including the ministries of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and many Catholic schools and educational programs in New Orleans and beyond, including Xavier University of New Orleans.

“We were truly inspired by Mrs. Benson’s generous example and were honored to recognize her leadership and her service to Catholic ministries,” said Kelley. “Like St. Mary Magdalene’s support of Jesus’ ministry, Mrs. Benson’s philanthropy manifests discipleship.”

FADICA the Catholic Philanthropy Network gathered in New Orleans for its 2024 Annual Meeting and Symposium: The Future of Catholic Education is Now. Over 100 participants gathered over three days for the convening, including 75 Catholic philanthropists and dozens of Church leaders from across the country.