Department for Persons with Disabilities
A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson
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2017 Caritas Gala

The Annual Catholic Charities Caritas Awards Dinner will be held on November 4th at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. The awards are given each year to persons or organizations in recognition of outstanding service and love for humanity. Proceeds from this event will benefit the 3 Catholic Charities Agencies in the Diocese of Paterson including: The Department for Persons with Disabilities (DPD), Straight and Narrow, and Catholic Family and Community Services. 

This year Dr. Diane and Kevin Cavanagh as our Caritas Award recipients.

Kevin and Diane moved to Andover, New Jersey in 1991 from Deer Park, Long Island after meeting at Marist College, marrying in 1978 and having four children. Parishioners of Our Lady of the Lake Church in Sparta, their children Jill, Kate, Denise and Timothy attended Rev. Brown School and Pope John High School. Dedication to their parish and diocese is evidenced in their involvement as a couple for many years in the OLL Pre Cana program and Family Promise. Kevin is Past Grand Knight of Marquette Council 588, former athletic director for the OLL CYO Basketball Program, co-chair of the Pope John Technology Auction, member of the Cornerstone planning committee and presently on the OLL Parish Advisory Board. Diane is past president of the Columbiettes, and was a 7th grade CCD teacher, a member of the Council of Catholic Women and presently a Eucharistic Minister.

Giving back to the community has been a focus of their married life and one that they have passed on to their children and will continue to nurture in their four grandchildren.  Through their involvement in the Knights of Columbus/Columbiettes they have been able to be part of charitable events that have helped both individuals and groups in need of support. In their workplaces they have organized and participated in fundraisers that have helped both individuals with disabilities and families struggling with health or financial difficulties. They feel that they have been blessed in all aspects of their lives and continue to practice their faith with a deep commitment to helping others.

In their professional lives both Kevin and Diane have strived to continue the strong work ethic of their parents and immigrant grandparents. Kevin has enjoyed working as an accountant and is a member of the American Association of Certified Public Accountants. Diane's dedication as a special educator is enhanced by board positions at Department for Persons with Disabilities, Pocono Parents of Children with Down Syndrome, Equi-Librium and as a volunteer for Pennsylvania Special Olympics and Pocono Buddy Walk.

In addition to DPD's Award, 3 other awards will be presented to friends of Catholic Charities. 

Donna Fico, the Vice President of Supportive Services at Eva's Village will be receiving the Catholic Family and Community Services Award; Rev. Msgr. Herbert Tillyer, the Pastor of St. Peter's Parish in Parsipanny will be receiving the Straight and Narrow Award and Fr. Paddy O'Donovan, the Pastor of Notre Dame of Mount Carmel in Cedar Knolls will be receiving the Bishop's Award.  DPD congratulates all of the recipients on their well-deserved awards.

To support the 2017 Caritas Gala please visit