NYS Catholic Charities Directors to honor two at annual convening in Albany Feb. 6

Published on January 23rd, 2017

Joseph Slavik, the recently retired President and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Syracuse, and Mary Olsen, director of Disaster Response for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany and diocesan liaison for Catholic Relief Services, will be honored by the New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors at a reception on Monday, February 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Albany. The reception is part of the Council’s two-day convening Feb. 6-7, in which Catholic Charities personnel from all eight New York Dioceses advocate with elected and state agency officials on important issues of concern to the poor and vulnerable.

Mr. Slavik will receive the Bishop Francis J. Mugavero Award for outstanding contributions to the work of charity and social justice. The award is named for the late Bishop of Brooklyn. Mrs. Olsen will receive the Vincenza DeFazio Award for outstanding contributions to the work of New York State Council of Catholic Charities Directors. The award is named for a deceased long-time attorney with Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
Mr. Slavik was with Catholic Charities of Syracuse from 1975 until his recent retirement at the end of 2016. He began his career at Catholic Charities in 1975 as director of youth services in Binghamton. Five years later he became director of Catholic Charities of Broome County, and in 2010 he was appointed to president and CEO of the diocesan Catholic Charities.

“Joe Slavik’s tenure as the head of Catholic Charities in Syracuse helped make the organization more efficient and responsive to community needs, whether that took the form of feeding the hungry, helping the homeless, or welcoming the immigrant,” said Vincent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Charities of Albany and chair of the Council of Catholic Charities Directors. “His work and enthusiastic attitude inspired all of us, and he was a constant source of encouragement and support to the other heads of Catholic Charities organizations through the Council of Catholic Charities Directors. I consider Joe a close friend and a colleague, and an example of service to the less fortunate.”

Mrs. Olsen began her career in Catholic Charities of Albany in 1984, as part of the office staff, rising through the ranks to her current position in 2000, in which she oversees the diocesan administration of Catholic Relief Services, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and disaster response and recovery.

“Mary Olsen has been an integral part of Catholic Charities since first coming to the agency in 1984, and in that time, she’s contributed immeasurably to the efforts and priorities of the Council,” said Colonno. “In her 33 years here she has brought professionalism, a high level of organization, compassion, and humor to each project she has worked on. Over the years, she has built numerous positive relationships with officials here in the Albany Diocese and has advanced the Council’s work and goals in many venues. Those we have served in that regard have benefited from Mary’s dedication, and we are blessed to have her as part of the Catholic Charities family.”

The Catholic Conference represents New York State’s Bishops in matters of public policy.