Diocese Of Metuchen Ball To Benefit Catholic Charities

Jim and Jeanine Cavanagh

SOMERSET — The Diocese of Metuchen will honor Jim and Jeanine Cavanagh of Raritan, at its 21st annual Bread and Roses Ball on Saturday, May 14. The Cavanaghs will receive the Immanuel Award at the event which will take place at the DoubleTree Hotel, 200 Atrium Drive, Somerset.

Proceeds from the Ball will benefit the Diocese’s Catholic Charities programs in Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties. Last year’s event raised nearly $107,000 which supported initiatives that provide people in need, regardless of religion, with charitable services such as behavioral health services, housing/search advocacy, residential services for youth, material needs/disaster relief, parenting education, services for the disabled, substance abuse services, and in-home services for abused/neglected youth.


The Immanuel Award is given to an individual or a couple who exemplifies, through service and sacrifice, the selfless determination to make the world a better place in which to live. It is given in memory of Msgr. Immanuel Vernon, the diocese’s first executive director of Catholic Charities.

Parishioners of Immaculate Conception Church, Somerville, The Cavanaghs have founded and have been actively involved in many social ministry programs in their school and parish communities since they met 27 years ago on a diocesan high school retreat.

At Seton Hall University, where they each received a bachelors and masters degree, they were immersed in campus ministry and created many of the social ministry programs, events and missions that they are still involved with today.

In 1989, Mrs. Cavanagh founded the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) program at Seton Hall, providing service opportunities for students, staff and administration such as organizing activities for mentally and physically handicapped persons, participating in Habitat for Humanity projects, serving at soup kitchens, visiting nursing home residents, and being part of a Big Brother/Big Sister program for 100 underprivileged youth from the nearby City of Newark.

For the past 25 years, the Cavanaghs have been dedicated volunteers for Appalachian Outreach efforts through Wayne County Work Camp, a program where volunteers spend a week in the summer working on homes in Appalachia to make them safe, warm and dry, as well as through Houses of Hope, which seeks to raise funds to build new homes for the poor in that region of the United States.

The Cavanaghs have volunteered since 1984 at Camp Fatima, New Jersey’s camp for children and adults with mental and physical handicaps, and Mrs. Cavanagh has served on its Board of Directors. She also began an annual “Road Less Traveled Retreat” for adults with disabilities, which soon will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

Mr. Cavanagh has spent the majority of his career working for inner-city Catholic hospitals in Newark and Paterson and currently is vice president and chief information officer at St. Joseph’s Healthcare System, Paterson.

Mrs. Cavanagh has served for the past 14 years as the director of social ministry at Immaculate Conception Parish where she cultivates and coordinates various outreach programs, service ministries and spiritual programs. Through this ministry, she is able to provide charity care for the marginally poor and all those in need through the Catholic Charities Family Partnership Program. She also serves on the Samaritan Homeless Interim Program Board of Trustees and works closely with many social service agencies throughout Somerset County.

Married in 1991 at the Immaculate Conception Chapel at Seton Hall University, the Cavanaghs have four children – ages 8 to 16 – who are very involved with many of their parents’ outreach efforts, including volunteering at Camp Fatima and assisting in Appalachia.

In 2006 the Cavanaghs received the Regina Nostra Medal presented by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski in gratitude for their important contribution to the mission of the diocese through their service to their parish community.

The Bread and Roses Ball begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner at 7 p.m. The evening will include dancing, a live and silent auction, Monte Carlo style gaming and a 50/50 raffle.

Deborah Stout is the chairperson. Committee members include: Lisa Bill, Karen Cassidy, Very Rev. Sylvester J. Cronin, Diane DiFrancesco, Lisa Fittipaldi Digirolamo, Carmel Gettings, Laurine Hamilton, Ben & Laurie Hanafin, Alison Hosler, Joan Lorah, Louis & Carol Mitschele, Rev. Michael C. Saharic and Chris Venditti.

For tickets and information, call 1-732-562-2438.

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