Building the Kingdom of God

Newsletter issue: 
September 2013
News item date: 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

By HPN Staff

This September, Jimmy and Katie (née Scordato) Sartino received the 2013 Louverturian Award at the 12th Annual Big Get Together inCrystal Lake,IL.  For the past 13 years, the Sartinos have demonstrated their commitment to the mission of The Haitian Project (THP) not only through direct support of the Project, but by living in accordance with its values.

Like the students at Louverture Cleary School (LCS), the Sartino’s five young children live, learn and work in the same place – the Sartinos’ home.  “They have a beautiful and bountiful home vegetable garden and a whole bunch of chickens and a rooster, which makes their yard sound a bit like the LCS campus,” says Volunteer alum and former THP staff member, Mary Jo LeGrand (née Scordato).  “… visiting their house reminds me of LCS not just because of the rooster, but because of the way they live their lives.”

Both certified teachers, Katie home-schools the children and Jimmy teaches Theology atBoylanCatholicHigh School, where the two met and became high school sweethearts.  Boylan has produced many loyal supporters of the Project, including Mary Jo and Tim Scordato who have both served as THP employees in the past.

After graduating from Boylan, Katie visited LCS in 2000 while her sister, Mary Jo, served as a Volunteer.  “It was incredible to see the school in person,” Katie recalls.  “LCS runs by total trust in God. It goes to show that living Gospel values works – it brings happiness.”

When she returned, Katie shared her experience with Jimmy and they became eager to support LCS fromRockford.  The Sartinos have become tremendous advocates for THP in the Diocese of Rockford, sharing its mission with others and helping whenever they can.

Katie and Jimmy explained that their roles have mainly been “behind the scenes” by volunteering in the former Rockford Development Office where Mary Jo and Tim worked.  Jimmy also organizes classroom fundraising activities at Boylan, including a penny campaign which has raised more than $50,000 over the last decade.  He also used his influence at Boylan to recruit and organize student volunteers to send out THP’s quarterly newsletter.

Deacon Patrick Moynihan, President of THP, is enthusiastic in praising the Sartinos for their service.  “What is truly amazing to me is how dedicated Katie and Jimmy have been even as their own family has expanded.  It’s amazing when a young couple with five kids and so many reasons not to be involved with something as far away as a school in Haiti, are so deeply involved.  They are an inspiration to me both as a family and as an amazing example of Catholics in action.”  Deacon Moynihan is also quick to point out that the Sartinos’ involvement at Boylan is just one example of the many ways in which theRockford diocese supports THP.

Supporting their growing family on a teacher’s salary, the Sartinos lives mirror life at LCS both spiritually and financially. Katie explains,  “Our life works because it is God’s will. We try to be as faithful as possible and God provides.”  Despite increasing financial demands, the Sartinos continue to tithe according to biblical standards whenever possible.

Mary Jo noted, “Through Katie's home-schooling and Jimmy's teaching at Boylan, they seek to build theKingdomofGodthough their work, and through community.  By the example of their family life, I believe they have inspired many to say ‘yes’ to the call of the Holy Spirit.”

Appreciative of the gifts they receive while continuing to give freely of themselves; the Sartinos live as true examples of what it means to be a Louverturian.