Celebrate St. Madeleine 2023 – Honors Phil and Ginny Morrissey

In 1984 two Red Sox fans moved from Boston to Bellevue – the Pacific NorthWest and the Mariners organization have never been the same!

Tonight we honor two of the most generous, thoughtful, and humble people in the whole world. Ginny and Phil Morrissey. They registered as parishioners at St. Madeleine Sophie Parish in 1985.

In this day and age, it’s pretty hard to get people to commit or show up –  time, energy, and capacity are taxed – people are busy and have a lot of commitments –When someone shows up and helps our community, it really stands out. Ginny and Phil stand out. They give in every way a person can give despite having extremely high powered careers, children to raise, and busy lives to attend to.- Let me tell you the Morrissey’s show up. They give their time, talent, treasure and energy to our Seraph family every single day.

What is truly so admirable is that they support our community quietly. They love us so humbly and authentically, it’s unparalleled.  They don’t do it for show, or for accolades, – In fact Ginny has already gotten upset with me multiple times about tonight, she’s truly furious to sit at table and not be in the checkout room right now.

But for Ginny and Phil it means something to them to help and watch this community grow. While we see it as “we couldn’t do this without Ginny and Phil”, Ginny and Phil see it as, “we couldn’t do this without the St. Madeleine Sophie.”

In 2001 Ginny started helping with a little fundraising idea called the Auction – this was a committee of few and has grown into our biggest fundraiser of every year. But there wasn’t really an adequate space for such a grand scale event, so in 2002, Ginny and Phil silently donated the funding for a little construction project, now known as the Koinonia Room. If you look very hard, there is a hidden tiny plaque outside of our beautiful parish community space. When they joined the parish, they were looking for a home away from home and they found that in the St. Madeleine Sophie community, the only thing missing was a school for their wonderful kids Christine and Jimmy. Along with Fr. Jim, the parish council and many dedicated parishioners Ginny and Phil worked tirelessly on the School Feasibility Task Force, envisioning what could make a future “St. Madeleine Sophie School” unique and impactful to the families in our community. In 2005 St. Madeleine Sophie School opened its doors, and we owe our thanks to the vision of inclusion, love and care that parishioners like the Morrissey’s shared with us to make our dreams a reality. IF Ginny thought she had done it all at that point she was wrong, because in the 2008-2009 school year, she started volunteering with Holly in the front office, but quickly took over the front desk, managing everything from the Office to student Admissions to international relations. Not to ever be outdone, Phil was quick to follow with volunteering his time to the parish and school. Phil, an active Knight, took lead as Liturgy Coordinator in 2015 working with parishioners and students as the lead trainer for Liturgical Ministry, serving as Parish Music Coordinator, and leading the charge on the Liturgy Planning committee, if you are lucky you will still catch a glimpse of him in the sacristy on Sunday mornings his thick Boston accent still going strong, “Good morning Mr.Morrissey” and a chuckle – Hi Martine! Phil couldn’t be with us tonight, but I know he understands that now I need to talk about Ginny for just a minute.

Jessica and I tried multiple times this week to put our thoughts together eloquently but failed each time, ending up in tears trying to articulate what St. Virginia means to us. One day, one hour, one minute without Ginny Morrissey in our office, and Jessica and I feel at a complete loss. Not only because as we all know – Ginny is remarkably powerful and all knowing, (for heaven sakes she has a masters degree from Johns Hopkins) – but because she brings us so much light, support, and joy to every single moment of the day. From the seemingly mundane bandaids and ice packs, – each one given so caringly, to the nitty gritty of really important enrollment forms, auction items and emails. She will be the first one to tell me I need to update something on the website that she found at 1 am and will always send an email if you are parked in an auction spot, but all jokes aside and most importantly – she is the keeper of our school culture, she is our institutional memory. From DAY one until today, she sets the tone (literally, St. Madeleine Sophie this is Ginny) and gives us all  inspiration every single day. She is the hardest worker, the kindest colleague, and Mother to ALL of us. Jimmy, Allie, and Christine – thank you for sharing her! Does she ever run out of energy? Ginny shows patience and grace always, even when there is a line of kids needing tardy slips, the phone is ringing, there is one bloody nose and the copier is jammed. There isn’t a child in this school who is turned away when they want to celebrate losing a tooth, discuss the pitch clock or the latest Mariners game (win or lose), or even if they need to have a good cry because they are studying away from home and miss their family, she’ll hold their hand and cry with them.

The Castello Award, seeks to recognize individuals, families and programs – that replicate the courage and compassion of St.Margaret. We honor those who take a chance, see beyond the surface, and go out of their way – even if it isn’t the popular thing to do – in order to welcome and include everyone and build the kingdom.

Our School and our Parish are so important to the Morrissey’s that they are willing to give everything to us, on weekends, on weekdays, on holidays and in the middle of the night, without any obligation. Just genuine care for ALL in our community.

Ginny and Phil made their faith, their family, and this Parish the true center of their lives and this community has been a place where friendships have emerged, joys have been celebrated, losses have been mourned and the future is yet to be fully realized. We truly cannot adequately express the level of our gratitude, the love we have or the entirety of our admiration for the Morrisseys, they’ve made St. Madeleine Sophie their home for 39 years- but because of them we are home too.

It’s an honor and a privilege to say thank you on behalf of our whole St. Madeleine Sophie family, please join me in congratulating Phil and Ginny Morrissey.