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On a Firm Foundation: Pioneering Ambassadors


Mary Quilici Aumack
Executive Director
Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County, aumack@cfoscc.org


A few weeks ago, we held our inaugural Mass of Celebration for founding members of the Society of Saint Joseph. You can read about it in Liz Sullivan’s article in the October 23 issue.

The Society of Saint Joseph recognizes individuals and families who have remembered “Church” in their estate plans. The Mass and reception provided us an opportunity to thank founding members for this generous and important gesture.

I gave the reflection at the end of Mass. As I was preparing it, I thought about my legacy, and the contributions of those who came before me. For whom am I an ambassador? What values do I hope will be strengthened, and from where did they originate?

Of course, for me this always comes back to my parents, Winona (Nonie) and Aldo Quilici. If you’ve read my “stuff” over the years, you’ve heard some of these stories:

They were “Mr. and Mrs. Saint Justin,” supporting Monsignor Mentasti, Mother Margaret Mary, Sister Gemma and the entire community in all ways.

Then they were “Mr. and Mrs. Notre Dame,” managing dinner dances and bingo games. My mom worked at McDonald’s so I could go to Notre Dame.

They had a deep commitment to family. My dad’s favorite experience, more than a fancy trip, 49er game or car project, was to sit in a corner when we were all together, and just take in the conversation and laughter.

My parents’ greatest gift to me, among many, is my faith. This was then strengthened through experiences and relationships at Saint Justin, Notre Dame, Gonzaga, Saint Mary Parish, Santa Clara University, and Catholic Charities.

My work at the Foundation has also been a great source of spiritual strength. I have the unique blessing and opportunity to work with clergy, religious and lay leaders. I learn through reading, discussion and writing. I am a “sponge” when given the opportunity for conversation about faith, sacraments, life.

And over the course of the last 20 years, one person whose pastoral leadership and friendship have been interwoven in the path of my faith journey is Bishop McGrath. I am stronger in my faith and commitment because of him.

Sometimes we refer to our parish as our “village of faith.” In this village our faith is nurtured. This is the WHY of us that I discuss often. Because we are given the gift of the REAL presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, and the opportunity to enter into a relationship with him, we have great gratitude that compels us to action, and to generous giving. This is why we invest in our village, and in vocations, in youth ministry, in lay leadership, in clergy and religious life, in Catholic Charities and in the great gift of Catholic education. Why we are compelled to evangelize. Because these aren’t just great institutions, service providers and traditions, they are Catholic, they are ours.

At the Foundation, we speak often of FOREVER VALUE, this idea that through our legacy we can provide permanent support for the ministries that formed us and supported our families, in sadness and joy. This can be in the form of financial assistance, programs that bear our mark, and prayer.

Doug and I will provide permanent support to a number of these organizations through our family endowment, which will be funded when we die. Our selected beneficiaries, including our parish, will receive a grant from this endowment every year, FOREVER. This is our legacy plan.

The Society of Saint Joseph was started as a formal coming together of people who want their legacy to include a contribution to their village of faith. Contributions can take many forms and be of any size. I encourage you to visit our website at
cfoscc.org/societyofsaintjoseph to learn more.

We are grateful!