Gala of Hope, to benefit Haiti Project, in Hunt Valley Oct. 24

The Gala of Hope 2009, which benefits the educational needs of school-age children in Haiti, will be held Oct. 24 at the Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, from 6:30 to 11 p.m.

The annual event is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Haiti Project and the Mortel Family Charitable Foundation. Both are led by Deacon Rodrigue Mortel, director of the Missions Office for the archdiocese.

The Haiti Project includes churches in the archdiocese sponsoring parishes in the impoverished Caribbean nation’s Diocese of Gonaives.

Proceeds from this year’s gala will go toward the construction of a high school, near The Good Samaritans grade school that the Mortel Family Foundation built in the coastal city of St. Marc.

“In half of the diocese (of Gonaives), there’s no good high school for these children to go to, one that can provide a solid Catholic education,” Deacon Mortel said. “There’s a vacuum, once the children reach high school. Some of these kids are very bright, and there’s no place for them to go.

“The purpose of the Gala this year is the same as it was last year, to raise the funds that will allow us to begin construction on the high school. We will start construction in January, and we need help.”

The school will serve more than 1,000 students. Plans for the project include three floors, 20 classrooms, lab space and a library.

The project has received a $1 million pledge from the Philadelphia-based James M. and Margaret V. Stine Foundation. Deacon Mortel said that another $400,000 needs to be raised.

The gala includes dinner, auctions, raffles, entertainment and dancing. It sold out each of the last two years.

For more information about Gala of Hope 2009, call 410-547-5498.

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.