SOAR! event: Supporting those ‘living the life of Christ’

Gathered at the 2014 Support Our Aging Religious (SOAR!) Liturgy and Awards Dinner, held June 22 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, are (from left) Msgr. James Loughnane, Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Sartoris, honorees Timothy and Steph Busch, Archbishop José Gomez, honoree Kathleen Aikenhead and husband David, Sister Kathleen Lunsmann (president of SOAR!) and Bishop Kevin Vann of Orange. — Credit: VICTOR ALEMAN

As a young student at St. Martin of Tours School in Los Angeles, Kathleen Aikenhead was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, whom she believes helped provide the initial spark to what has become her life-long commitment to philanthropy.

Under her 21-year leadership as president of the William H. Hannon Foundation (which was founded by her late uncle), Aikenhead and her board of directors have been instrumental in providing generous annual grants for hospitals, social service organizations, Catholic schools and churches, and for religious congregations.

“We try to follow my uncle’s mission very closely, and one of his main goals was always to support the sisters,” she said with a smile. “He just loved the sisters.”

For these and many other contributions to Catholic ministries and organizations, Aikenhead was honored alongside Timothy and Steph Busch, long-time advocates of Catholic education, as recipients of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award at the 2014 Support Our Aging Religious (SOAR!) Liturgy and Awards Dinner, held June 22 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

SOAR! also honored the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation with the Saint Katherine Drexel Award, which recognizes significant national-scale contributions to the church, particularly to men and women religious. Proceeds from the annual dinner will support the organization’s nearly 30-year mission. Established in 1986, SOAR! is a national not-for-profit committed to providing financial grants to help aging religious sisters, brothers and priests in congregations across the country.

“Our religious sisters and brothers are living the life of Christ — it is a beautiful vocation,” said Archbishop José Gomez during his homily. He described religious community members as “gifts” to the church, noting that they help support “the apostolic mission that we have in the church to spread the Gospel.”

At the recent awards dinner, Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Kathleen Lunsmann, president of SOAR!, expressed her gratitude to all SOAR! benefactors, telling The Tidings, “It is only through their generosity that we’re able to help so many of our aging religious.” Their primary goal, she explained, is to provide need-based assistance to “allow the sisters [and brothers] to continue to live in community as they age, to make their lives a little bit easier, and make sure that they age with dignity and grace.”

Every year congregations submit applications for specific projects, such as installing a ramp or making bathrooms or dining rooms handicap accessible. In May the organization’s board of directors approved grants for 2014 which total a combined $1.2 million in funding to 65 congregations from18 states and Puerto Rico. The average age of the aging religious helped by the grants is 82.

Local recipients of the 2014 SOAR! grants include: the Guadalupan Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, Los Angeles (for accessibility renovations of building and outdoor areas); the Daughters of Mary and Joseph, Rancho Palos Verdes (for accessibility renovations of dining area); the Sisters of Notre Dame, Thousand Oaks (for handicap accessible dining room tables and chairs); and Carmel of St. Teresa of Los Angeles (Discalced Carmelite Nuns), Alhambra (for water pipe replacement).

“I have supported SOAR! for many years; it’s a great cause because we have to take care of our sisters; they don’t have funding,” said Timothy Busch, CEO and principal shareholder of The Busch Firm, an Irvine law firm. Among their many accomplishments, Busch and his wife have founded private Catholic elementary and high schools in Laguna Niguel and San Juan Capistrano, and have long supported Carmelites, Dominicans and other religious communities.

“I was educated by Dominican sisters back in Michigan, so I’m a product of Catholic education, and, more importantly, of the sisters themselves,” he told The Tidings. “We really support them. My wife and I love all the sisters.”

To learn more about SOAR!, visit


Iowa and us in a Year of Mercy

Kathryn Jean Lopez

It was in the general-purpose room of St. Francis of Assisi Church in West Des Moines that Donald Trump made his last pitch to Iowa voters, inside a caucus room. He wanted to make sure people remembered that not only will he build the wall on our border with Mexico, but that he’s the only candidate who will make Mexico pay for it.


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February 6, 2016

  • Saturday, February, 6

    Second Annual Sisters of Notre Dame Nun Run 5K & 1-Mile Fun Run, 8 a.m., Hosted by the Sisters of Notre Dame and La Reina High School and Middle School in Thousand Oaks. Course starts on Dover Avenue in Thousand Oaks and finishes in front of La Reina School. Open to runners and walkers of all ages and ability levels. Professional chip timing technology will be provided to 5K runners by Vendurance Sports. Participants will receive a free T-shirt (while supplies last); pancake breakfast available after the race. Pre-registration is $35 per person for the 5K, and $25 for the 1-Mile. All proceeds support the Sisters of Notre Dame Life and Ministry Fund, allowing the sisters to continue their ministries in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. For more information, contact Chloe Vieira at, or visit 

    Math Competition for Middle School Students & Problem-Solving Workshop for Teachers, 7:45 a.m., Don Bosco Technical Institute, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead.A mathematics competition for fifth through eighth grade students. The 44th annual event will offer awards for the highest scoring individual and teams. Participants must register by Feb. 2 Space is limited. The cost is $8 per individual and $5 per person for teams of four or more, up to 15. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m.; one-hour test starts at 9 a.m. Free activities offered and food available for purchase. Award ceremony follows the competition at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Valeria De Luna at


    San Fernando Regional Day of Prayer for the RCIA, 1 - 4:30 p.m., St. John Baptist De La Salle Church, 16555 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills. An afternoon of prayer for those who will celebrate the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion this Lent. Catechumens, candidates, sponsors and team members will come together in prayer with Bishop Joseph V. Brennan. To register or for more information, contact Sandy Cole at (818) 368-1514 or


    Second Annual Valentine's Dinner/Dance, 7 p.m., St. James School - O'Gorman Center, 4625 Garnet St., Torrance.Dance music from the 50's to the present; $20 per person. Proceeds will benefit our seminarians. For more information, call the parish office at (310) 372-5228, or Ely at (310) 944-3355.  


    Snowflake Swing Dinner/Dance, 6 p.m. to midnight,St. Francis of Assisi Church, 1523 Golden Gate Ave., Los Angeles. Great food, door prizes and dancing (assorted music), featuring the LA Trio. Tickets $25; RSVP by Feb. 2. For reservations, call Liza at (323) 664-1305 or Renee at (213) 413-3036. 

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