ST. BONAVENTURE - St. Bonaventure University will honor Father Joseph Bayne, OFM Conv., and three other outstanding Buffalo community members with the 2016 Gaudete Medal on Thursday, April 28, at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.
John G. and Suzanne Berger, along with Jack Connors will also receive the award which recognizes selfless contributions to society.
"The purpose for 'Gaudete,' which in Latin translates to 'Let us Rejoice,' is to recognize brothers and sisters who are successful in their careers and exhibit the Franciscan spirit of service, love and joy in all their daily endeavors," said Greg Bruno, chairperson of the event. "This is what we define as the Bonaventure spirit and what makes our community so special."
Father Bayne, a native of Baltimore, serves as the executive director of The Franciscan Center Inc. of Buffalo. Since 1990, Father Bayne has worked to help at-risk teenagers transform their lives and re-enter family life or independent living through goal-setting.
His work also includes helping men, women and children in crisis situations through outreach, counseling and referrals. Among many other things, he dedicates much time and energy serving as chaplain to the Buffalo Fire Department, the Town of Hamburg Police Department and the Erie County Emergency services.
In 1980, Father Bayne received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Mass. He also attended St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary, where he was ordained a priest in 1985.
John Berger serves as a member of the board of directors and committees for several Western New York organizations such as the St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute Advancement Committee, where he is a 2015 Signum Fidei Society inductee. He received his bachelor's degree in finance from St. Bonaventure. John and Suzanne Berger were corporate co-chairs of the 2015 Catholic Charities of Buffalo annual appeal and served as the chair couple for the 2014 Lasallian "Bright Futures" Dinner and Auction.
Connors, president and publisher of Business First, is a lifelong resident of Buffalo. He currently serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, treasurer of the Library Foundation of Buffalo and Erie County. Two of the Connors children, son Darcy, and daughter Maura, are St. Bonaventure graduates.
The event will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. and continue with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by medal presentations.