Al’s Corner: The Knights of the Holy Sepulchre

by Al Amico

On Saturday October 5, 2019, I and many of our board members had the pleasure of attending the annual Investiture and Promotion events of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.  We witnessed and celebrated our Chairman’s (Andrew J. Koslosky), promotion to Knight Grand Cross, his third promotion since this Knighthood was bestowed on him by Rome in 2010.  The Investiture and Promotion Mass was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral followed by a fantastic banquet at the Grand Hyatt New York in Manhattan.

A bit of background on the the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, its roots date back to the 11th century and the first Crusades led by Godfrey de Bouillon. Men were granted knighthood for their actions in battle at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the hill of Calvary in Jerusalem.  The order is dedicated to fundraising for schools, seminaries, hospitals, orphanages, etc. and carry out acts of charity throughout the world. Its members pledge to aid the needs of Christians and make it possible to maintain a presence and to protect their rights in the Holy Land.

It was truly an honor to attend this event to celebrate our Chairman’s accomplishments together with our Josephine Foundation family.


A Special Perspective of The Holy Land

The administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem talks about hopes for peace in the Holy Land.


Roman Catholic and Franciscan Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa has already spent more than three decades in Jerusalem. In 2016, the former Custos of the Holy Land was made archbishop and apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. In an interview with Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), he spoke about the situation of Christians in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.

What is the current situation of the Christians in the Holy Land?


It is often said that three groups of people live in the region that is considered the Holy Land proper: Israelis, Palestinians and Christians. But the Christians are not a “third people.” The Christians belong to the people among whom they live. As Christians we don’t have any territorial claims. Meeting a Christian does not represent a danger to Jews or Muslims. However, life is not easy for the Christians: it is more difficult for Christians to find work or an apartment. The living conditions are much more difficult.

Is the religious freedom of the Christians restricted?


It is necessary to make distinctions here. The freedom to practice religion is one thing, the freedom of conscience is another. The freedom to practice religion exists: the Christians can celebrate their divine services and develop their community life.

Freedom of conscience means that all Church members can express themselves freely and should members of other religions wish to become Christians, they have the right to do so. That is a lot more complicated.


Politics always plays a major role in the Holy Land. Even wanting to visit a certain place can quickly evolve into a political issue. For example: Christians from Bethlehem would like to go to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem to pray. However, this is often not possible because they need a permit to do so.

Therefore, is this an issue of religious freedom or is it just politics and they are not being granted permission to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre because they are Palestinians? It is all interconnected.

The US government has moved its embassy to Jerusalem. How perceptible are the effects of political measures of this kind?


For the time being, this has not had much of an effect on everyday life. However, politically, relocating the U.S. Embassy is a dead end. All issues relating to Jerusalem that do not take account of both sides—Israelis and Palestinians—lead to a deep fracture on a political level. And that is exactly what happened.

After the relocation of the US Embassy, the Palestinians broke off all relations with the US government, bringing the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian regions, which were moving sluggishly anyway, to a complete standstill.

Is there something the Church can do in this dead-end political situation?


Christians make up about one per cent of the population. We therefore cannot expect to carry the same political weight as other groups. But, of course, the Church has strong connections worldwide. And then there are the millions of Christian pilgrims who come here from all over the world.

It is our job to communicate to the people: there is a Christian way of living in this country. There is a Christian way of living with this conflict. This is not the time for big gestures. The Church has to try to establish small connections and build small bridges.

Editor’s Message

Hello All,

Welcome to our third quarter newsletter!

Now that it’s Thanksgiving, our busy lives begin to become even busier as traffic increases and the seemingly never-ending holiday rush begins. It seems a bit cliché to say “remember to give thanks” or “count your blessings”, but if one simply takes a step back to enjoy being in the presence of friends and family, you can truly see what this holiday and the ones that come after it are all about.

This newsletter attempts to deal with the current state of the Catholic Church, about rediscovering our faith and trying to make sense of a difficult time for those who have lost faith in those they once trusted. It may not provide all the answers…but it’s certainly a start.

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.”                  -Johannes A. Gaertner

Please take the opportunity to visit our site and pass along the grant application to some worthy organizations that you know.

Giovanni Vittozzi


Board Member

Board Member Highlight

by Marco Vittozzi

Francine Morgenstern has been a long-time supporter of the Josephine Foundation. She initially got involved when she was working for another theater group and Andrew J. Koslosky asked her to help costume a production for The Josephine Foundation. She was initially impressed at the small group of dedicated, hard working people of The Josephine Foundation, and that they were all involved in the arts in some way. As she became involved in the Broadway Blockbusters productions that were performed over the summer, she was pleased to find these professional productions so challenging and equally as successful.

Since first joining The Josephine Foundation, she marvels at how much it has grown over the years and how it continues to attract hardworking people that are dedicated to the arts. As JOFO has matured, Francine cherishes meeting great people, developing friendships of a lifetime, and working with young actors and seeing them grow. One of the most challenging parts of volunteering, however, is finding the time to contribute. Francine wishes more people knew how much and in how many ways JOFO gives back to communities, other organizations, and the actors, dancers, and athletes it works with.

Francine has truly been a consistent hardworking member of The Josephine Foundation. Between costuming, volunteering, and preparing for the JOFO Gala every year, she certainly is an integral part of this organization.

When not working with The Josephine Foundation and volunteering, Francine enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


A very interesting year for me indeed….and this is such a good time to reflect on some highlights…

This past summer I spent 15 glorious days in Italy. I had forgotten how much I loved the food, the people and the lifestyle. I also was reminded what it is like to be part of a culture that honors its traditions and reveres it elders. Very little stress…very little rushing around…very little hustle and bustle. I found myself being brought back to the days of my childhood, where I treasured the stories of the older men in my family, or the elders of the community playing bocce or card games in the park. It brought back memories of my Holy Name Society days at St. Malachy’s in East New York. I was the youngest president of the Holy Name Society, adopted by the good men who mentored me. I suppose it was a way they could keep an eye on me…or so they thought. The message here… a simpler life…and one I miss.

Just recently I got to visit The Holy Land. Most importantly, I got to partake as a very honored Knight of The Holy Sepulchre. To be a Knight in this order is not something I originally asked for, but now have come to realize and understand may be part of my life’s mission and duty. The works of the Knights in the Holy Land and for the poor is essential in my view. What the Knights stand for is very important in this day and age, thus I take it very seriously. Being promoted to Knight Grand Cross at a ceremony in St. Patrick’s Cathedral this past fall, was an honor and a blessing.

Still, I had my reasons for taking this trip at this time and my purpose was twofold. I needed to see from a mission standpoint the problems surrounding Christian schools in the region and to try to understand the politics of the area better. I feel very confident that I have achieved an understanding…though there is much yet to be learned.

Secondly, I needed to reconnect and strengthen my faith. I am reminded of a letter Mother Theresa once wrote to then Pope John Paul II, where she questioned her faith. She was worn down and her work was in overdrive. I suppose she couldn’t understand how a universal family, indeed all of us brothers and sisters, could treat each other the way we were…and maybe she questioned why God would allow it. I certainly do not pretend to be in that conversation, but her struggle gave me courage to address my own anger and my doubts.

Just like many of you, I too was upset with the direction, or lack thereof of our Church. Of course, the accusations of and confirmations of abuse dating back many years concerned me. The way the abuse was handled…angered me. But there was much more…

The Church has become too often a den for those who are unable to connect on the pulpit and in the community. They have become a common place for mismanagement of funds and people. There is a huge disconnect and in some cases arrogance. Many in question blatantly ignore Canon Law and create their own rules. Sadly, many of their superiors are just as bad. When presented with problems and even evidence, they turn their back on those who really are the Church. The closer you get to the situation, the more you get frustrated. Sadly, the devoted and gifted leaders/priests of the flock have been put in a difficult position because of those who have taken advantage. Guilty by association…has become the battle cry. As one holy man I respect said to me…it is time to take back our Church. I had reached my Mother Theresa moment where I needed something to strengthen my faith. The Pilgrimage was my chance to re-energize my faith so that I could use all my God given tools to assist those devoted leaders and priests who have been carrying the load and to continue in my life’s mission.

My gift from heaven was the three priests and one bishop who led this pilgrimage. These very special men led us by their words, deeds and passion. When you combine this with the daily visits at the Holy sites such as Bethlehem and the Church of The Nativity, Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, along with moments like The Solemn Entry and The Via Dolorosa, I received the message and strength I sought when I chose to go on this Pilgrimage. I will be ever grateful for our gracious leader of the order who played a major part with our spiritual leader, in making this Pilgrimage so special and allowing the group to become a family.

The message here…the Church teachings are what we are devoted to and to be guided by. We are not to be influenced by those whose actions are in question as their time of judgement is coming.

Yes indeed…a very special day, this holiday called “Thanksgiving”…It is a day we reflect on many wonderful memories of the past, with friends and family. Yet for some…there is a feeling of sadness, that some of those very same people we shared with are no longer here with us. The holidays constantly remind us not to take each other for granted…and this particular one, encourages us to be thankful for all the gifts we had and have in our lives.  Most of all, we are thankful for the people we share our lives with…the intangibles that make our lives special and unique. I am thankful for all those I have met along the way, and their unique contributions to making me who I am…and I am thankful for the opportunity for us to be able to share each other’s talents.  A very Happy and Special Thanksgiving to you all. May God continue to bless you and your families.

Peace my brothers and sisters,

Andrew Joseph Koslosky

Chairman of the Board

The Josephine Foundation

Life’s road is an uphill journey full of obstacles and crosses we must bear. Take comfort in knowing that a precedent was set many years ago, so that when we are climbing these steps…help is waiting if we have faith and stay the course.

A View from Backstage

by Peter Carrozzo

“Safety Pins and Fishing Line and Shims…oh my!”

Is that a shopping list for my next trip to Raindew? No. These three random items are the unsung heroes of the theatre. In this issue, I would like to take the time out to salute them. I’m convinced that it would be utterly impossible to stage any production—from a kindergarten Christmas pageant to the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera—without these three items. And let’s not forget chicken wire. Although it’s not integral, it deserves mention somewhere here.

All costume persons know that safety pins are an essential tool of their trade. Just this year at graduation at St. Andrew’s, a mom asked me if I knew where she could buy safety pins for her dress. I told her to give me two minutes. I went down to Andrean Hall, climbing over scenery in my suit (the back room being in its usual condition of anarchy) and took out a safety pin from my secret stash, thus averting a clothing crisis. Safety pins have saved many a costume issue. In addition, the safety pin is also the best friend of curtains, teasers, and backdrops. Recently I put an extra box of safety pins in my car because, inevitably, when traveling around to other theaters, I find myself in need of a safety pin or two. Will the safety pin ever be unseated from its position of importance by another simple but essential item? If so, my vote would be for binder clips. But the safety pin still rules supreme.

Fishing line rivals the safety pin in importance in theatre. I own and travel around with a few roles of fishing line, but I have not gone fishing in twenty years (and the last time I did, I turned green for eight hours.) Do you need to hang a picture, a poster, gossamer, a curtain, keep a door or window closed? Then all you need is some fishing line, a scissor, and ten minutes before curtain and you’ll be fine. Fishing line is like an ant that can carry ten times its weight. I am confident that I could hang a bowling ball with fishing line.

Will safety pins or fishing line not fix whatever problem you have with your set? Reach for a shim. I have conquered many a wobbly flat and crooked wall with a shim or two…or five. Door won’t close? A shim placed between the frame and door will do the trick. But beware! Whereas one shim might lead to level perfection, two shims might lead to set disaster. A delicate balance must be achieved when using a shim. It’s more art than science, more prayer than plan. You may ask why not build your scenery in such an expert manner that shims are unnecessary? Well that wouldn’t be very much fun.

Really, it’s unfair to single out these three items and christen them the ultimate saviors of theatre when there are so many other worthy candidates. After all, chicken wire and plaster or Great Stuff (the insulating gooey stuff that we spray in windows, cracks and crevices) can create walls, rocks, and Roman ruins. I have seen duct tape hold entire sets together…in fact, I’ve even considered using duct tape to hold casts together. And I could probably write a book about luan…but I will save that for another issue. Today I single out and salute safety pins, fishing line and shims for all the times they’ve saved me in the early morning hours before opening night. Maybe they are unsung but it’s my job to make them unsung no more!


The safety pins in my car.



Spirits Alive 2019 at Maple Grove

by Carl Ballenas

Spirits Alive 2019 at Maple Grove Cemetery was a smashing success and very well received. The Friends of Maple Grove has been holding this annual event for close to 15 years. Every year, First President and Historian Helen Day continues to discover new historical figures, buried at Maple Grove. Over time their stories have become lost. We take all the information we can find, from newspapers, books and obituaries to recreate their stories and write a script for our actors. This year we focused on a few incredible people including Bonnie Magin, an actress and dancer who survived the Iroquois Theater fire of 1903. The fire was the deadliest theater fire and the deadliest single-building fire in United States history, resulting in at least 602 deaths. Another was Emily Huber, who formed a local chapter of the Suffragettes movement. She went on to become treasurer of the Queens Suffragette group. Hearing her story was accordingly relevant, seeing as 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Bonnie Magin and Emily Huber were portrayed by mother daughter team, Reagan Stone and Luci Sellerberg.

This year we had three actors portray World War II soldiers. The soldiers were from Kew Gardens and grew up near the cemetery. All three died in the war and their names were found on a forgotten Kew Gardens World War II bronze memorial. The three portrayed were Richard Smith, Walter Roth and William Yepsen. We were very lucky to have an avid collector of World War II artifacts, Sean Miller, who came to portray Richard Smith and provided authentic World War II uniforms. There are 27 names on the memorial and only Richard Smith was buried at Maple Grove. Marco Vittozzi portrayed Walter Roth and Giovanni Vittozzi portrayed William Jepsen.

We have a number of local community members who volunteer to perform every year and the largest group of actors come from the Josephine Foundation troupe under the direction of Andrew J. Koslosky. Others who came this year include Aj Pecoraro who portrayed noted stage actor and photographer Adam Dove. Tim Sims took on the role of Ralph Rawdon, a note engraver whose company was commissioned to create the first American postage stamp featuring George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Katie Pecoraro portrayed Mary Ann Burkhardt. Mary Ann was a direct descendant of the famous American Sea Captain Lawrence, who upon his death urged his men “Do Not Give Up the Ship!” Ell Kezys portrayed 19-year-old Virginia Smith who entered the American Air Force but was killed on the air base by a blot of lightening. Gianna Varrassi took the role of Jane Heath, the wife of one of the early Trustees of the cemetery. She was a direct descendant of William Rogers who founded the Colony of Rhode Island.

We were very fortunate to have Captain Chris Kraft, who worked at Ground Zero after the attacks of 9/11, and talked about the 23 victims of 9/11 who are buried at Maple Grove.

A very special feature of Spirits Alive 2019 was to witness a solemn Re-dedication Ceremony by the Pyramid Lodge organization at their 1893 Maple Grove monument. They are marking and celebrating the 160th anniversary of their founding in 1859! Many visitors were given the special privilege of witnessing this ceremony! Their dedication and Spirits Alive occurred at the same time, and upon learning that they were to occur simultaneously, they enthusiastically joined the other actors.

We had many visitors who walked through the cemetery and heard many historical stories. It truly was an event that brought history to life!



Photos taken by Carl Ballenas


Meet Our Honorees for Our Gala 2019!

National Award for Community Service in the Arts

Billy Ayers

Billy Ayres is a multi-award winning teacher/artist/director, who specializes in improvisational integrated music and drama with special needs children and adults. The therapeutic and safe environment that is attained during his sessions enables multiple avenues of expression. The environment encompasses musical theater and all its elements using such disciplines as writing original plays and songs, improvisational acting and performances, movement, comedy, mime and many more of the extensive techniques and forms of expression, theater and stage have to offer. Billy has created directed and performed more than 100 original musicals with special needs children and adults. Some of the organizations where the work was done include; the Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, Greenwich Youth Stage, Northern Westchester Boces, Norwest, Hidden Treasures, Abilis, the Hawthorne Foundation, Cerebral Palsy of Westchester and Ability

Beyond. Ability Beyond is a rehab facility where Billy’s work with traumatic brain injury survivors was written up in the New York Times (“Opening New Doors for the Disabled”).

After receiving a Master’s degree in education, he joined Arts for Healing in New Canaan. For over 15 years, he has worked with one of the most renowned music therapists and mentors. Karen Nisenson, who is a Nordoff-Robbins /N.Y.U. professor and protégé’ of Clive Robbins.

As an artist and soloist, for more than twenty years, Billy has sung many national commercials for TV and radio, such as: Coors Light, At&t, Downey, Dow, Hot Wheels, and many more. He worked with such talented artists as Ben Vereen, Michael Bolton, Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Ascher, Chris Botti, The late Vicki Sue Robinson, Allen Gordon (Happy Together) and many others.

Billy is a published songwriter, and has been writing songs for more than thirty years. He is a trained percussionist, and singer, self-taught pianist and guitarist. He has performed multiple cartoon voices for a Fox 5 children’s television show “Vanpires,” which airs internationally. He has also been a staff writer for The Songs of Love foundation. Songs of Love writers donated thousands of original songs for children with terminal illness.

Billy was the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 host and Emcee of ”Very Special Arts,” a showcase of special needs talent held at the Northern Westchester Center for the Arts where he performed with such celebrities as, Stone Phillips, Vanessa Williams and Alan Menken. “VSA” is an event supported by the Kennedy Center, the United Way and more than forty other organizations. He received the “Inspirational Arts award” in 2004 from the Northern Westchester center for the arts. In 2007, Billy was an “Honor our Heroes” award recipient for his work with special needs children and traumatic brain injury survivors. In 2010, Billy was the subject of an article in Cerebral Palsy magazine entitled, “Why do we have to be anything but beautiful.” He has received the Mary Louise Weiner Award for his work with children with autism, was named “Citizen of the Year” for 2017, and is a Grammy nominated Music educator!

As artist for the Westchester Arts Council, he has worked with hundreds of children in the classroom and onstage, in more than twenty schools. He also worked in community settings and in homeless shelters for more than 62 weeks. An amazing article was written in the

Bedford press called, “Getting Vocal about Lending a Hand,” illuminating one of the extraordinary experiences that occurred during his time working at one of the shelters.

Over the years, Billy has created his own technique called improvisational integrated music and drama “IIMD”. His music workshops using the “IIMD” technique have been very successful and received great press from the Journal News. The National Endowment for the Arts has funded these projects. In addition to creating workshops, he has been a panelist for the Arts Council and published, “How to conduct a Residency” for the Westchester Arts Council. In 2013, Billy published an article in the Arts for Healing newsletter entitled “Profound Purpose.” His work, human interest, and passion have inspired him to write a series of children’s books, the first of which is entitled, “The Tiger and the Butterfly,” specially targeted for special needs children and adults. Billy Ayres is a member of the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, and is currently writing and producing a documentary called “Walking with Angels.

We are honored to recognize the work of Billy Ayers at this years “Follow Your Dreams Gala”.



Monsignor David L. Cassato

Monsignor David L. Cassato was born in Brooklyn on the second day of September, 1947. He attended Holy Family Elementary School and Saint John’s Preparatory in Brooklyn. At a very young age he became convinced that he would devote his life to “God and God’s people.” After high school he attended Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He then went on to Our Lady of the Angels Seminary and earned the Master of Divinity degree. On May 27, 1972 he was ordained a priest. His first mass was

celebrated at Holy Family, the place where it all began. He was then appointed to Saint Rita’s in Long Island City where, as assistant pastor, he had an active part in the development of many parish programs. He served for thirteen years in this capacity, which proved to be a valuable training ground for the responsibilities he was to assume in coming years.


In January 1985, Bishop Francis J. Mugavero chose Fr. Cassato to become Administrator of Our Lady of Mount Carmel located in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Less than a year later, Bishop Mugavero asked Father to become the next Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father accepted and thereby became the seventh pastor of the church. The installation Mass took place on December 1, 1985.


The cumulated experience acquired during the thirteen years at St. Rita’s soon was put to good use. The years he spent developing a diversified youth program, a drop-in center for teenagers, a summer camp program for youngsters, a retreat program for young adults, activities for senior citizens and regular visits to shut ins in the parish, together with active participation in community affairs were to be implemented wherever possible in his new assignment. As the new pastor, he soon took into account what his priorities were to be and immediately began to revitalize the good will and enthusiasm of the parishioners. His aptitude for remembering names of each parishioner became a topic of conversation and was most pleasing to them.


The most difficult task set before him was to close Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. A process that had begun before his arrival at Mount Carmel. He vowed to the parishioners that he would do all in his power to one day have the school reopened. Preparation for the celebration of the Centennial Year 1987, together with the normal routine of running a parish, kept Father running just enough “to stand still.” The Brooklyn Tablet commented that the parish was blessed with a Pastor having the necessary qualities of vim, vigor and vitality to keep up with the rapid pace of activities. Father Cassato has succeeded in his original challenge, namely “to put an upward tone to the parish, to restore a sense of happiness, joy and enthusiasm for the church and the faith.”


On Monday April 25, 1988 Bishop Mugavero notified Father Cassato that our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has made him a Domestic

Prelate of Honor, “Monsignor.” On June 18, 1992 Bishop Daily wrote to Monsignor Cassato describing him as a dedicated and committed Shepherd. He also expressed his gratitude for the spiritual leadership and administrative strength he has exhibited as Pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. In view of this, the Bishop was pleased to renew his appointment as Pastor for an extended period of six years.


On September 8, 1992 Msgr. Cassato was able to perfect the promise to the parishioners by opening the school of Mount Carmel Academy, a Middle School serving the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, with a full academic schedule including Italian. In January 1998 a dialogue between St. Vincent DePaul School and Mount Carmel Academy began. The discussion was about the future of Catholic Education on the Northside of Williamsburg. It was decided that a merge of the two schools would be in the best interest of all. In September of 1998 Msgr. Cassato assumed responsibility of St. Vincent DePaul School and in September of 199 Northside Catholic Academy was born with grades pre-K to 5 at the St. Vincent site and grades 6 to 8 at the Mount Carmel site. Both locations were under the direction of one principal, with Msgr. Cassato actively involved much of the school life.


On September 14, 1998 Bishop Daily appointed Msgr. Cassato Administrator of the parish of Annunciation, believing it would bring new life to the parish. A Spanish Mass was begun at Annunciation, and after about a year, the Spanish speaking community of Mount Carmel joined the newly forming community of Annunciation. A religious education program, providing catechesis in English and Spanish was begun at Annunciation and both parishes worked more closely, worshipping together at Corpus Christi and Pentecost.


On June 16, 2001, Msgr. Cassato was appointed New York City Police Chaplain by Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.


On November 1, 2001, Msgr. Cassato was assigned as Pastor to the parish of St. Athanasius in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He was also named Executive Director of the St. Athanasius Golden Age Club, The Rosary Society, The Holy Name Society and G.I.S.A. In May 2002, Msgr.

Cassato earned a Master of Science degree in Education with a focus on Administration and Supervision from Mercy College. (M.S.Ed.)


In 2002, Msgr. Cassato became a memeber of the Board of Trustees at Maimonides Medical Center, in 2003, Msgr. Cassato was appointed as Chaplain of Bishop Kearney High School, and on June 30, 2015, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio appointed Msgr. Cassato Administrator of the parish of St. Dominic. On Januray 31, 2016, Msgr. Cassato, was appointed to diocesan coordinator of ministry to the Italian Immigrants.


On June 9, 2017, Msgr. Cassato was promoted to Deputy Chief Chaplain of the Police Department of the City of New York by Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill. Today The Josephine Foundation celebrates the life and service of New York’s Pastor, Msgr, David Cassato.




Kathy DeRosa

Kathy DeRosa, is the President/Founder of The De Rosa Foundation for Colon Cancer Research and Prevention. At only 38 years of age, married with two children, Paul, 8, and Julia, 5, Kathy De Rosa was diagnosed with hyperplastic polyposis syndrome, a familial polyp syndrome, characterized by the presence of multiple large hyperplastic polyps within the colon. Left untreated, these polyps develop into cancer. In October 2006, she underwent a colonoscopy. Shortly after, her younger brother Gary, 35, was also screened. Their screening revealed over 100 polyps in each of the siblings. They then underwent extensive medical evaluations and were both diagnosed with this life threatening medical condition.

Despite having this syndrome, Gary and Kathy were asymptomatic and in fact, felt great and otherwise healthy. They were completely unaware of the predisposition to this precancerous condition. However, uncertainty and fear of this otherwise unfamiliar condition was overwhelming.

This fear transformed to hope following a vast search for a qualified colorectal surgeon, which led Kathy to Dr. Jose G. Guillem, a physician with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. In January 2007, Dr. Guillem successfully performed a total colectomy, removing the colon with the precancerous polyps. Without the early diagnosis and treatment Kathy and her brother Gary received, their conditions could have become cancerous. They were the fortunate ones.

Kathy’s own personal experience was the underpinning to establishing “The De Rosa Foundation for Colon Cancer Research and

Prevention”. This life transforming event inspired her, as she developed the overwhelming need to raise awareness on colon cancer and perhaps help others. This foundation was created to help promote education and raise much needed funds for colon cancer research. Only through education and research will we be able to continue to advance prevention and treatment in hopes of one day finding a cure of this dreaded disease. Kathy DeRosa continues to lead the way in her mission to raise awareness and find a cure for Colon Cancer.



Timothy Jaccard

Timothy Jaccard is the Founder and President of the AMT Children of Hope Foundation. Tim is a retired paramedic for the Nassau County Police Department, Long Island, NY. His life’s mission now is to work endlessly and passionately to educate and prevent the abandonment of infants.

More than 3,000 infants saved nationwide since Jaccard founded AMT Children of Hope in 1998. All have been adopted. Since he began his mission, the organization has opened crisis center hotlines in Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, California, Indiana and Bellmore to field calls across the country. Last year, the Bellmore, NY office received more than 2,000 calls.

Children of Hope was started 17 years ago after Jaccard responded to an emergency call in Hempstead Long Island, where a newborn was found dead, face down in a toilet. “I was crying in the courthouse,” Jaccard recalled. “It was very emotional to find a child had been lost and murdered.” Within the next few weeks, there were three more infanticides.


At first, Jaccard’s goal was to give a proper burial to each infant in Nassau who had met the same fate. He became their legal guardian and named them before they were buried in a large plot he purchased at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury. When emergency workers in nearby jurisdictions — Suffolk, Manhattan and the Bronx, among others — heard about Jaccard’s work, they began calling and asking him to bury the abandoned newborns found dead in their communities.


The burials are a kindness he continues today. For each child, there is a church service and a baptism. “It’s sad, but yes, at the same time in my heart I know that this child is now part of our family and will stay in our family,” Jaccard said. All of the grave markers carry the same last name — Hope. To date, more than 120 infants have been buried at Holy Rood.


In the spring of 1999, Jaccard established a crisis center at Nassau County police headquarters and a year later opened the Long Island Crisis Center and hotline in Bellmore. That same year, Jaccard crafted the first safe haven law that was passed in Texas, allowing a woman to go to a hospital or other designated safe haven and give up her baby anonymously. The following year, the Infant Abandonment Protection Act was enacted by the New York State Legislature, allowing mothers to surrender newborns without prosecution. Jaccard’s persistent lobbying efforts resulted in getting a safe haven law passed in all 50 states.


Over the years, Children of Hope ( has broadened its goals, educating students and coaxing hospitals and fire departments to help women who don’t intend to keep their newborns, to have safe births anonymously. The nonprofit organization has fundraising events to help support its work.


Tim is married with three children and has five grandchildren. But his family reaches out much further as he has formed lasting relationships with many of the mothers and children who have been in his program. Today we acknowledge the work of Timothy Jaccard, who with his life’s work and mission has and continues to make the world a better place.



Richard Krams

Richard Krams was born in Woodside, Queens and attended St. Sebastian Elementary School, Mater Christi HS, Iona College BA, and Manhattan College MA. His amazing teaching career began at Mater Christi/St. John’s Prep., in 1970.

In 1984, Richard began teaching at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, NY.

In January of 1993, he was made Dean of students by Bro. Roy. The rest is history. This educator and administrator became the face of St. Mary’s High School for 35 years.


Richard has been married to his wife Gloria since 1972, making it 47 years.

They have two Children, Caren and James. James has two daughters Amelia 9 and Ellie 2, giving Richie four grandchildren.


Richard has touched the lives of thousands of young students who he has worked with over the years.

He also was able to reach out to students through another passion of his, athletics, as he has had a distinguished career in sports. He served as a NCAA Official for Division 1, 2, 3, men and women basketball from 1971 to 2016, totaling 45 years as a member of IAABO, Inc. He is an Honorary Member of the Long Island District Board 41 IAABO, the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials, Inc.


Richard also used his passion for Golf, to encourage students through his coaching stints at St, Mary’s High School. He was elected to the Catholic High School Athletic Association of Brooklyn/Queens & NYC.


Richard is an Honorary Member of the Knights of Columbus.


All in all, Richard Krams served for almost 5 decades, as a leader, teacher, educator, administrator and someone who our youth could look up to. Tonight, The Josephine Foundation honors his commitment and service.




 Robert M. Reid Sr.

Robert M. Reid Sr. is married to his High School Sweetheart, Angela, for 50 years. He has 4 children and 8 grandchildren. He grew up in Elmhurst, Queens and attended St. Bartholomew’s Elementary school, and Newtown High School. Bob has been a Bayside residence since 1978.


Bob joined the NYPD on February 2, 1974. He rose through the ranks to Detective serving in the 109 Precinct, 114 Precinct, 94 Detective Squad, 84 Detective Squad, Queens Special Victims Unit, and 114 Detective Squad. He went on to complete 34 years of service, retiring as Detective Investigator of the NYPD.


During those many years, Bob also found the time to volunteer in The Bayside Little League. In fact, he started in 1986 and now serves as the President of The Bayside Little League, a post he has held since 1991. He is responsible for the overall operation and governing of the BLL program. Each year, the program has over 500 children with 23 Board members and over 75 managers and coaches.  That is quite a number of young people who are touched by Bob’s service. Bob’s service didn’t just start with the Bayside Little League, as previously, (from 1975-1982), he served as The Director of Youth Programs at St. Bartholomew’s.


Presently, Bob is on the Board of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Academy, and sits as the chair of their Marketing Committee. He is a volunteer at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church’s St. Matthews Guild and ushers at the Family Mass. Bob is also a member of the Northeast Bayside Civic Association Board, and is a 4th Degree Trustee of the Knights of Columbus Council #430.


In keeping with his love for children, each Christmas Season, Bob is responsible for having Santa and presents at numerous Children’s Christmas Parties.


Bob serves as a Facilitator for the Virtus Training Program, for the Brooklyn Diocese. VIRTUS is the brand name that identifies best practices programs designed to help prevent wrongdoing and promote “right doing” within religious organizations. The VIRTUS programs empower organizations and people to better control risk and improve the lives of all those who interact with the Church. The program does this by teaching how to be on the lookout for abuse within programs and then how to respond. Who better than Bob to teach a class on this mission? After all,

this is a man who had served and worked within children’s athletic programs for many years while being an active member of his Parish community.


Bob Reid is the recipient of the following prestigious awards; The Holy Cross High School Anchor Award,

The New York State Liberty Award (Highest Award given to a New York State Civilian) and The Rotary Club Paul Harris Fellow Award. Tonight he receives The Chairman’s Honoree Award for his years of service to the community as a leader, activist and strong role model for today’s youth.