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Donor Stories

Donor Stories

Frank W. Gorman, Jr. and the St. Patrick Cathedral Historic Preservation Fund

Frank W. Gorman, Jr., a devout Catholic and lifelong St. Patrick Cathedral parishioner left a generous gift to the St. Patrick Cathedral Historic Preservation Fund, helping the fund reach its goal of $1 million. An endowed fund of $1 million will provide a yearly distribution of $40,000 to help preserve our beautiful century-old Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese. The campaign to establish a permanent fund for the Cathedral was initiated by Fr. Rick Matty† in 2011. Since then, more than 400 donors have given generously to the preservation fund.

Frank W. Gorman, Jr., a devout Catholic and lifelong St. Patrick Cathedral parishioner left a generous gift to the St. Patrick Cathedral Historic Preservation Fund, helping the fund reach its goal of $1 million. An endowed fund of $1 million will provide a yearly distribution of $40,000 to help preserve our beautiful century-old Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese. The campaign to establish a permanent fund for the Cathedral was initiated by Fr. Rick Matty† in 2011. Since then, more than 400 donors have given generously to the preservation fund.

The Cathedral of St. Patrick kicked off centennial celebrations in March, 2017 with a seated dinner for clergy and ministry leaders, a Mass to commemorate the Feast Day of St. Patrick followed by a parade, a 5K Run, and guided tours of the Cathedral. There was a centennial celebration of Saint Pedro de Jesús Maldonado in January 2018. He was ordained a priest on January 25, 1918 at St. Patrick Cathedral by Bishop Anthony Joseph Schuler, S.J.

Countless people can tell you about how Frank Gorman touched their lives, especially how he did things from his heart to honor God with absolutely no thought of any recognition. As a matter of fact, if you were going to put his name on something, he would refuse. This time is an exception. His children thought it was important to share the news of his gift because they wanted to inspire others to give. Frank’s son Mike said it best, “His charity and humility paved his way to heaven.”

Frank and his late wife, Barbara, were married on August 25, 1947 at St. Patrick Cathedral and would have celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2017. They had 4 children, 7 grandchildren, and 5 great-grandchildren. They will both be remembered with great fondness and admiration and will be deeply missed.

The St. Patrick Cathedral Historic Preservation Fund was established to provide for the future care of the Cathedral. Donations to this fund are a great gift to our community and will ensure that all families within our diocese are able to enjoy the beauty and sanctity of our Cathedral Church now and for years to come.

Planned Giving provides a way to fulfill your charitable intentions with gifts made to the Church from your estate after your death in accordance with specific plans you have made during the course of your lifetime. The Catholic Foundation welcomes the opportunity to work with you and your financial and legal advisors to execute your philanthropic vision.

Al Haag and the Retired Priest Appreciation Fund

Albert R. Haag, known by everyone as Al, was born on December 24, 1918 in Peoria, Illinois. He attended Notre Dame and graduated from Northwestern. In 1957, he moved to El Paso to found Haag Tractor Company, a dealership for the Caterpillar Corporation and later owned and operated Stepco, Inc. Al was always involved in the community. He served as Vice President for membership of the Sun Carnival Association, director of the Industrial Development Board of El Paso, Past President of Our Lady’s Youth Center, and an advisory board member for Loretto Academy and Hotel Dieu Hospital. He was active in the United Way of El Paso as well as the Rotary and Sierra Clubs, the El Paso Country Club, and was a faithful member of Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Albert R. Haag, known by everyone as Al, was born on December 24, 1918 in Peoria, Illinois. He attended Notre Dame and graduated from Northwestern. In 1957, he moved to El Paso to found Haag Tractor Company, a dealership for the Caterpillar Corporation and later owned and operated Stepco, Inc. Al was always involved in the community. He served as Vice President for membership of the Sun Carnival Association, director of the Industrial Development Board of El Paso, Past President of Our Lady’s Youth Center, and an advisory board member for Loretto Academy and Hotel Dieu Hospital. He was active in the United Way of El Paso as well as the Rotary and Sierra Clubs, the El Paso Country Club, and was a faithful member of Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Al was married to his love, Betty, for fifty-seven years and before his death would bury his wife and three of his five children. His faith never faltered and he always had a smile on his face. Al was quietly generous, always wishing to remain anonymous in his giving, and he had a deep love and devotion for his Catholic faith and for the Eucharist. Near the end of his life Al shared with the Foundation’s major gifts officer that he was leaving “something” for retired priests. Following his death on May 2, 2016, the Catholic Foundation learned that Al had bequeathed $500,000 for the Retired Priest Appreciation Fund. Even more remarkable was the fact that initially his gift was for $50,000. Al had given regularly and developed a relationship with the Foundation, and he knew the Catholic Foundation was a vehicle for charitable giving that he could trust.

Bill and Melinda Gates are often asked, “Why are you really giving your money away—what’s in it for you?” In explaining how it’s each person’s responsibility to use their wealth to give back, Bill Gates says there are two reasons he and his wife give: “meaningful work and having fun doing it”. Al did just that. He had been blessed with professional success, he gave generously of his time, energy and resources, and he enjoyed all of it because he had a sense of purpose.

It’s a common misconception that only the wealthy leave money to charitable organizations when they die. However, bequests in wills are not just for the rich and famous. The truth is that most bequests are made by ordinary, hardworking people who want to make a positive difference in their community and on the programs they support. Whoever you are, whatever your situation, you can make a significant impact and leave this world a better place by including a charity in your will.

Michael and Clara Miles and the Catholic Foundation's Scholarship Program

In 2009, Michael and Clara Miles established an endowed fund for Catholic high school scholarships with a gift of $2.6 million. Their generous and thoughtful act laid the groundwork for what is known today as the Catholic Foundation’s Scholarship Program.

In 2009, Michael and Clara Miles established an endowed fund for Catholic high school scholarships with a gift of $2.6 million. Their generous and thoughtful act laid the groundwork for what is known today as the Catholic Foundation’s Scholarship Program.

It began with a desire to give back to the community where they had both grown up and made their living. In 2001, following the sale of a family business, Mike and Clara created a private foundation to provide significant support to causes they love. Mike, one of 10 children, knew firsthand the value of Catholic education and how hard his parents had worked to provide for their family.

While Mike and Clara were contributing significantly to worthy organizations through their private foundation, their real passion was providing scholarships for at-risk students. They worked tirelessly to find children who could benefit from a move to a Catholic school and saw many go off to college and thrive. There were also disappointments. Some of the kids didn’t stay with the program for different reasons, and Mike and Clara lost track of them.

They decided to partner with the Catholic Foundation to provide more opportunities for El Paso students and their families while maintaining connection and providing mentorship. Miles Scholars express deep gratitude at the Foundation’s annual prayer breakfast and are always seeking out their benefactors to say thank you and talk about how this gift changed their lives.

The Michael M. and Clara Miles Fund will provide scholarships for students attending Cathedral, Father Yermo and Loretto Academy in perpetuity.

Ernie and Nora Herrera: Giving Generously Together

Ernie and Nora Herrera are graduates of Loretto Academy and Cathedral High School. They met in college — Nora had been admitted to Stanford and Ernie to Caltech — but both remained at the University of Texas at El Paso where their paths would cross. They both agreed early on that they would give back in any way they could because they believe “it’s not ours to keep.”

Nora and Ernie Herrera are graduates of Loretto Academy and Cathedral High School. They met in college — Nora had been admitted to Stanford and Ernie to Caltech — but both remained at the University of Texas at El Paso where their paths would cross. They both agreed early on that they would give back in any way they could because they believe “it’s not ours to keep.”

It seems that giving together is the key to happiness because this dynamic and successful couple is always giving generously of their time, energy, prayer and resources, and success continues to follow them. The philanthropic duo has hosted numerous elegant events for the Foundation and established a named endowed fund for Diocesan Migrant & Refugee Services. They love being in El Paso because their children and their family are their priority and here, they “can be parents first.”

Manny and Maureen de la Rosa: Sharing the Blessings

Manny and Maureen de la Rosa are synonymous with stewardship. They give of themselves constantly and in every way that God calls them to.

Manny and Maureen de la Rosa are synonymous with stewardship. They give of themselves constantly and in every way that God calls them to.

The parents of six children, Manny and Maureen have been together since their university years at Notre Dame. Manny says that he would not have made it through his pre-med chemistry classes without Maureen, who has a master’s degree in the subject.

The devoted couple was fully prepared to pay for law school for their fifth child, Mercedes, when something remarkable happened. Mercy, as she’s known by her family, was invited to interview for a fellowship with a Milwaukee law firm, one of only six students chosen to interview. The Godfrey and Kahn Law Firm would pay for all three years of law school at Marquette University and provide mentorship as part of the fellowship. The interview went very well and Mercy was accepted!

Manny, Maureen and their daughter all say they felt God’s presence and guidance directing Mercy’s path. The devoted mom and dad knew there was only one thing to do: give the $150,000 they had set aside for law school to the Church “because, after all, it’s His to share.” They chose their two passions, the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund and Catholic Schools.

Mercy, a graduate of Notre Dame University who wanted to be a social worker until a mentor pointed out she would make an incredible attorney, is passionate about helping people. Today Mercy works as a Wisconsin assistant public defender and is following in her parents’ footsteps to live a life of service and faith.