2006 American Catholic Press Benefit

Festum Legis:  An Evening of Tribute

Justice Antonin Scalia

Saturday, October 7, 2006, ACP gave the Gratiam Dei Award, our highest honor, to Justice Antonin Scalia, of the United States Supreme Court. A reception for Justice Scalia began at 6 p.m. After dinner and the conferral of the Award, Justice Scalia spoke on constitutional law, specifically the religion clause of the first amendment.

The dinner took place at Flossmoor Country Club, 1441 South Western Avenue, Flossmoor, Illinois.  Security was provided for this event by local police and by six federal marshals.  Alderman Edward Burke was accompanied by two Chicago police. Reporters and photographers were present from the New World and the Daily Southtown/Star/Sun-Times group.  With attendance of about 300, the 2006 dinner surpassed all previous ACP annual celebrations, including the 1998 event, honoring Chairman Henry Hyde. 

At the reception table, guests were greeted and registered by Joan Braden, Rosann Conroy, Mauro Glorioso, and Kathy Ladowicz.  Joan and Rosann are ACP board members; Mauro is vice-president of The Justinian Society of Lawyers.  Justice Scalia personally spent time meeting people during the reception.  At 7 p.m. the Master of Ceremonies, Celia Guzaldo Gamrath, called for attention.  She is the president of The Justinian Society.  Celia introduced Bishop Thomas Paprocki, for grace before meals.  Bishop Paprocki is both a canon lawyer and a civil lawyer.  He has done much good work, in setting up legal clinics, to help poor people.  As an auxiliary bishop, he is episcopal vicar for region IV of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

After dinner, Professor Richard Michael spoke of Justice Scalia.  Professor Michael has taught law at Loyola University of Chicago for the past thirty years.  He described Justice Scalia as someone who does not legislate from the bench but rather makes decisions based upon the actual text and clear meaning of the law itself.  Professor's Michael's talk is available online.

Justice Anne Burke also spoke, describing the Gratiam Dei Award as given to someone who performs outstanding service for the American Catholic Press, the liturgy of the Catholic Church, or the common good.  Justice Scalia, she said, undoubtedly has served the common good in an exceptional manner, both through his teaching and his judicial life.  Justice Burke is the newest member of the Illinois Supreme Court.  She is widely known for her good work on behalf of children, through her leadership of the National Review Board.  This board implemented norms for the protection of children, in Catholic dioceses across the country. Justice Burke's talk is also available online.

Father Michael Gilligan then said that in our country we rightly honor athletes and entertainers.  Generally, anti-intellectualism pervades our culture. However, Pope John Paul made Father Avery Dulles a cardinal for a good reason.  We also need to honor our intellectual leaders.  The U.S. Catholic Church has by far the most extensive private educational system in the world, from Mokena, Illnois, to South Bend, Indiana.  Hence, we Catholics have an intellectual tradition to foster and to share with American culture.  Justice Scalia, then, is honored for his intellectual contribution to the ongoing study of constitutional law.  After the conferral of the Gratiam Dei Award, all sang  Ad Multos Annos ("for many years"), as a tribute to Justice Scalia.

In his lecture, the Justice relied on New Testament texts to indicate that separation of church and state is in fact founded in the Christian tradition itself.  He argued that, while religion and culture influence each other in many ways, church and state truly represent two distinct kingdoms, with different purposes and norms.   People listened to his words with rapt attention, throughout. 

The evening concluded with a sung Litany of Peace; the response, Kyrie eleison, was sung by all present in four parts.  The concluding prayer, grace after meals, was said by Father Bill Killeen, the pastor of Infant Jesus of Prague Church, in Flossmoor.  He led those present in reciting the twentieth century Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.

For a gallery of photos from this dinner and lecture, including a slide show, you can go directly to the Daily Southtown site album, Justice Antonin Scalia Visits Flossmoor.

For a summary of the lecture given by Justice Scalia, go to what was reported in The Star newspaper. 

For another report, go to the article by Patty Gayes, from the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the New World.


New book: Scalia Disssents: Writings of the Supreme Court's Wittiest, Most Outspoken Justice
This new book, "Scalia Dissents," provides a selection of this Justice's opinions, presented and explained in clear language. Justice's Scalia's own words bear witness to his wisdom, eloquence, and insight.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Archdiocese of Chicago
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Archdiocese of Chicago, saying grace before meals
After some initial remarks, Bishop Tom Paprocki said grace before meals.

Justice Anne Burke, introducing Justice Scalia
Justice Anne Burke of the Illinois Supreme Court, introducing Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia, delivering his address
Justice Scalia, delivering his address.


Alderman Ed Burke with friends
Alderman Ed Burke (left), Justice Anne Burke, Father Bill Killeen, Bishop Paprocki, and Father Pierre Barr (right). Alderman Burke recently got a bill passed by the Chicago city council forbidding serving of foie gras. Some time ago, he got a bill passed exonerating Mrs. O'Leary and her cow, from allegedly starting the Chicago fire of 1871. Of late, Alderman Burke has been leading the fight against trans fats, served in restaurants. * * * In the background, at the next table, is the famous Chicago politician, Ed Vrdolyak. The Windy City has no lack of colorful and fascinating leaders.

Here's the news on foie gras, Mrs. O'Leary, the legend, the innocent cow, and trans fats.

Connor Loesch
Connor Loesch (right), vice-president and board member of American Catholic Press. He is retired from IBM. Connor came tonight all the way from Ft. Wayne, Indiana. On the left are Karen and Joseph Dunn; he is the principal of Noonan Academy, Mokena, Illinois.

Dr Richard Venneri and Dr Avis Clendenden of St. Xavier University
(from left) Dr. Richard Venneri and Dr. Avis Clendenden of St. Xavier University. To her left are Marie Von der Embse, Mary Ann and Tony Veeneman. In the background, walking to the right, are Dr. John and Mary Ann Hackett. Dr. Veeneman teaches chemistry; his wife, Mary Ann, works for Catholic Charities.

Father Bill Killeen
Father Bill Killeen, Pastor of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish, saying grace after meals. He led all present in saying "Make Me a Channel of Your Peace," a prayer written in the spirit of St. Francis. Even without written copy in front of them, many people present joined in; they seemed to be familiar with this prayer.

Flossmoor Country Club is located within the boundaries of Infant Jesus of Prague Parish; hence, Father Killeen is the local pastor.

Professor Richard Michael of Loyola University
Professor Richard Michael of Loyola University introduced Justice Scala as an "originalist," someone who interprets the U.S. Constitution by the meaning of the text itself.

Justice Scalia, receiving congratulations
Justice Scalia, receiving congratulations

Justice Scalia, accepting the Gratiam Dei Award from Father Gilligan
Justice Scalia, accepting the Gratiam Dei Award from Father Gilligan

Judge Tom Panichi, Megan, and Judge Luciano Panici, with his son, Luciano, Jr., and his wife, Mary
Judge Thomas Panichi (with an "h"), daughter Megan, and Judge Luciano Panici with his son, Luciano, Jr., and the Judge's wife, Mary. Judge Luciano Panici has been active for some years in organizing the annual San Lorenzo festival at the Amaseno Lodge and San Rocco Oratory, in Chicago Heights. He has often been the grand marshall for the procession from the lodge to the church, in honor of St. Lawrence and St. Rocco.

Noreetn and Brandt Oosterbaan, with their grandson, Chris
With their grandson, Chris, here are Noreen and Brandt Oosterbaan. The priest who witnessed their marriage, back in Roseland, was Father Pierre Barr, at another table this evening.

Jerry and Chris Bern, with Father Pat Lagges
Jerry (left) and Chris Bern, with Father Pat Lagges, a canon lawyer. Jerry and Chris are both board members of American Catholic Press.

Brandt, Tara, Amanda, and Greg Oosterbaan
Brandt, Tara, Amanda, and Greg Oosterbaan

Franciscan Sisters from St. James Hospital, Chicago Heights
Franciscan Sisters from St. James Hospital, Chicago Heights, Illinois. On the right is John Ladowicz, a board member of the hospital. On the left is Aleece Fulton.

T.J. Somer with his wife, Cindy
T.J. Somer with his wife, Cindy. T.J. is the head of Bloom Township; he is also an attorney in private practice locally. T.J. had a whole table at tonight's dinner.

The Justinian Societ y
An overflow crowd of about 300 listened attentively to Justice Scalia. There were many attorneys, judges, and justices present. Above are some members of The Justinian Society of Lawyers. On the right is Mauro Glorioso, vice-president of the society. (See Luke 11:46-47.)

Jack Mahoney, with sons Terry and Chris, with John Ligda
From the left are Jack Mahoney, with his sons Terry and Chris. Jack has been an ACP director for many years. Standing is John Ligda, music director at St. Joseph's parish in Homewood. He attended with his brother, Steven Ligda.

Dan Ryan and Joe Russo
Joe Russo (right), corporate treasurer and board member of American Catholic Press. Dan Ryan (left), long-time board member. He is the retired president of Suburban Federal Savings. For tonight's dinner, Dan flew up from Florida. Earlier, he had made arrangements to have two bottles of Sicilian grappa at the head table. One of the four food groups, grappa is a significant element in the Mediterranean diet.

Celia Guzaldo Gamrath
Celia Guzaldo Gamrath, president of The Justinian Society, M.C. for the dinner October 7, Festum Legis: An Evening of Tribute, honoring Justice Antonin Scalia. During the celebration, she introduced each speaker and kept things moving in good order. Hers was the word of welcome, the voice of hospitality and grace. Hers was the invitation to prayer, to reflection and thanksgiving. Hers was the personal confession of praise and acknowledgement, in recognition of our guest of honor.

Departing vehicle
Justice Scalia, departing the Flossmoor Country Club
Justice Scalia departed the Flossmoor Country Club in a high-security vehicle, with bullet-proof, tinted glass. Escort cars both preceded and followed him, with security personnel.

Entrance on Western Avenue, to the Flossmoor Country Club
Yes, that's it. You now recognize the entrance to the Flossmoor Country Club. Turn east, into the driveway.

Flossmoor Country Club
Here is a view of the golf course, looking north, from the main parking lot.

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