.- The Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo has created a âTim Russert Making a Difference Fundâ to support Catholic elementary schools.
Several winners of the annual Making a Difference Award, which was established by Russert in 2001, expressed gratitude for his work and voiced their condolences for the newscaster and political commentator whom Bishop Edward Kmiec of Buffalo called âa gracious son of Buffaloâ and a strong supporter of Catholic education.
âHis commitment has been evident every year since 2001 when he began the Sister Lucille Socciarelli/Father John Sturm Making a Difference Award, honoring an outstanding Catholic elementary school teacher in the diocese,â the bishop said in a Saturday statement lamenting the passing of Russert.
âI am deeply saddened by the death of Tim Russert, a gracious son of Buffalo who was a highly respected journalist and dedicated member of the Catholic Church,â he said.
Bishop Kmiec described Russert as a âstrong supporterâ of Catholic education in the Diocese of Buffalo, noting that the newscaster had graduated from West Senecaâs St. Bonaventure Catholic Elementary School and Canisius High School in Buffalo.
The 2006 Making a Difference Award winner, Sr. M. Timothy Howard, OSP, said she was âdeeply saddenedâ by Russertâs passing.
âHe was an honorable man, with deep love for his family, his country, this city and most importantly, for God,â Sister Howard said. âTim never forgot his roots, or the morals his parents raised him with. If we can learn anything from his passing it is that anything is possible, anyone can achieve greatness through hard work and integrity. Success is not measured in the amount of money we make, but on the positive ways we touch others.â
The 2005 Making a Difference Award Winner, Jeanne Kielbasa, described how her family had purchased a dining room table to celebrate her award. They now call the dining room the âRussert Room.â
âMy family was speaking of Mr. Russert last night at the dinner table,â Kielbasa said. âWe were discussing how he completely embodied the hope for the future that all Americans are praying for. He truly embodies the American spirit and the values that as a society we should cherish.â
Like many other eulogists, Bishop Kmiec lauded Russertâs commitment to faith and family, saying âhe recognized the importance of fatherhood, family and faith, and he set a wonderful example for others to follow.â
âTim Russert is being remembered in Masses throughout the Diocese of Buffalo this weekend. My prayers are with Tim, his wife Maureen, his son, Luke, his family and friends. May God grant him eternal rest.â
David Kersten, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Buffalo, said the establishment of the new Tim Russert Making a Difference Fund âwill ensure that Timâs mission of helping to further Catholic education in the Diocese of Buffalo will continue for generations to come.â Donations to the fund, he said, will be used for the annual Making a Difference Award and to provide financial aid to âdeserving students wishing to attend a Catholic elementary schoolâ in the Diocese of Buffalo.
âIt is our hope to honor Tim by providing a means to support the Catholic values and heritage he credited with shaping who he became as a man, a husband, a father, a journalist and a human being,â Kersten concluded.
Donations to the Tim Russert Making a Difference Foundation may be made through the Diocese of Buffalo foundationâs web site at http://www.frcdb.org/