It’s an Emerald O’ccasion for Catholic Charities

Bill Brewer Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, News

The 30th annual Emerald O’ccasion dinner to benefit Catholic Charities of East Tennessee will be held Thursday, March 12, at the Knoxville Marriott hotel with Father Eric Andrews, CSP, as the featured speaker.

Bishop Richard F. Stika is host of the fundraising dinner and Hallerin Hilton Hill will emcee the program. Toys ‘R’ Us will be presented with the annual Creating Hope Award for its corporate commitment to Catholic Charities.

The Emerald O’ccasion is presented by Meridian Trust and Investment Co., with registration and a cocktail reception beginning at 5 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom and the dinner following at 6 p.m.

Father Eric Andrews, CSP

Father Eric Andrews, CSP

Father Andrews is the president of the Paulist Fathers and is the former pastor at St. John XXIII University Parish and Catholic Center in Knoxville.

The 2015 Emerald O’ccasion celebrates the change in thousands of individuals’ and families’ lives over the years through Catholic Charities of East Tennessee’s social service programs to the poor, said Sister Mary Christine Cremin, executive director of CCETN, whose programs reach into 36 counties.

“Catholic Charities serves the region’s most vulnerable residents who are not being served by other agencies and are some of our most fragile citizens,” Sister Mary Christine said.

Father Andrews said he jumped at the chance to return to Knoxville and be part of Catholic Charities of East Tennessee’s largest annual fundraiser.

“I’m real excited. Having served on the advisory board for Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, I’m amazed at the work it does in East Tennessee. It’s a great gift of evangelization,” Father Andrews said.

In addition to East Tennessee, Father Andrews also has served as an advisory board member for Catholic Charities in the Achdiocese of Los Angeles and the Archdiocese of New York. After serving as pastor at St. John XXIII on the University of Tennessee campus from 2003-2009, Father Andrews was appointed president of Paulist Productions in Los Angeles, where he served from September 2009 to his installation as president of the Paulist Fathers in May 2014.

Father Andrews said Catholic Charities of East Tennessee asked him to speak at the Emerald O’ccasion dinner shortly after his election as Paulist Fathers president last spring.

“All of the Diocese of Knoxville it seems turns out” for the Catholic Charities dinners, he said. “It’s a testimony to how many people they reach.”

Corporate sponsors for this year’s event include Covenant Health, Faris Properties, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Pilot Corp., Mike and Kirstin Kropilak, First Tennessee Bank, and The Trust Company. Dinner music will be provided by pianist A.J. Toth.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee is a broad-based social service agency that works to address the unmet needs of the most vulnerable of our region, regardless of race, religion or ability to pay; no religious affiliation is necessary in order to qualify for services. For additional agency or event information: 865-691-1662 ext. 1005 or