Monumental Evening for Mercy Home’s Fr. Scott
The Irish American Labor Council (IALC) honored Mercy Home President and CEO Fr.
Scott Donahue for his contributions to the community at this year’s annual James Connolly Dinner, held at the Countryside Banquets & Conference Center. As part of the honor, Fr. Scott’s name was permanently engraved in the granite base of the James Connolly Monument in Union Park on Chicago’s West Side.
Comprised primarily of men and women working in the building trades, the IALC began as a movement to erect a monument to Irish labor leader James Connolly, who was killed by firing squad for his role in the Easter Rebellion against Great Britain in May 1916. The group worked to raise funds for the statue in Union Park commemorating Connolly’s life’s work on behalf of working people. The Council achieved its goal in 2008 but continue to dedicate their efforts to support nonprofit organizations like Mercy Home.
The Council’s annual dinner helps advance its work on behalf of area nonprofits, and presented Fr. Scott with a $10,000 donation to Mercy Home. Fr. Scott normally provides the invocation to the dinner, but IALC President Pat Hosty announced that he was giving Fr. Scott the night off this year, considering that he was already one of the evening’s two honorees.
“The tables are turned tonight,” seconded Mercy Home Board of Regents member and past honoree Rich Daniels in his introduction of Fr. Scott. “Fr. Scott has built his entire ministry around gratitude…tonight we get to say thank you to him.”
Daniels, whose name was inscribed on the James Connolly monument in 2016, called Fr. Scott a “good and faithful steward to others” and teaches our young people about the value of meaningful work and gratitude.
“What an honor,” Fr. Scott began after accepting his award. “What a privileged life I’ve had [as a priest] sharing life’s moments, hopes and dreams with people like you.” He then reflected on the meaning of work in our lives, and he praised the hundreds of union members in the audience and the IALC for their impact on our country. “You build structures. You build community. You build relationships,” Fr. Scott said. “And you make better and enhance lives, in a world that so desperately needs it.”
Fr. Scott thanked his Mercy Home coworkers, including the many who were in attendance, for making possible a mission that’s “so essential, especially to the young people entrusted to our care.”
He then cited the book “Strength for Strength” by Harvard professor Aurthur Brooks to offer insights on happiness and satisfaction in our careers and work, particularly as we mature. Brooks upends society’s common standards of happiness and success, which are based more on material wealth and the continuous striving for money or power. He recommends instead that we orient our approach to our work differently, which he summarized with his simple equation:
Use things. Love People. Worship the Divine.
Fr. Scott also said that after so much learning and labor we have a responsibility to share our earned wisdom with others to enhance life.
Fr. Scott thanked his longtime friend of 44 years, Fr. Bob Heinz for filling in for him with invocation duties. And he thanked the evening’s other honoree, James P. Connolly, business manager of the Laborers’ District Council of Chicago & Vicinity. In his own remarks, Connolly also expressed admiration for the way that Mercy Home believes in and provides life-changing opportunities for the young people in its care, and he echoed Fr. Scott and the IALC’s commitment to family.
Thank you to Patrick Hosty, IALC President and Patrick McCarthy, IALC Secretary-Treasurer, Rich Daniels, and all of Fr. Scott’s coworkers, friends, and family who came out to congratulate him on this honor.