DIOCESE OF ORANGE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KING AND QUEEN OF MARDI GRAS TO BE CROWNED IN ANNUAL
CELEBRATION OF THE SPIRIT OF CATHOLIC PHILANTHROPY
ORANGE, Calif., (February 14, 2007) – The Catholic Charities of Orange County
celebrates its 20th annual Mardi Gras Ball, February 17 at 6:00 p.m. The black tie
fundraiser is set to take place at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa, Calif., and is expected to
draw more than 550 distinguished guests. The Most Rev. Tod D. Brown, Bishop of
Orange, will honor the spirit of philanthropy and reflect on the bountiful contributions
Catholic Charities has made over the past 30 years. Gabriel and Maria Ferrucci will reign
as King and Queen of the Mardi Gras Ball.
“The Mardi Gras celebration allows our Diocese to honor Catholic Charities as an
organization and reflect on their good works throughout the United States. I am
particularly proud of the more than $1.5 million funneled into relief for the devastated
Gulf Coast region,” said Bishop Brown.
The annual Catholic Charities Mardi Gras event takes place just before the liturgical
season of Lent, as does the famous Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans. Mardi Gras has a
rich cultural heritage in the United States and is a celebration of surplus. The celebration
arrived in North America with the LeMoyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, in the late
17th century, when King Louis XIV sent them to defend France's claim on the territory of
Louisiana on March 3, 1699. They made camp just south of New Orleans, named the spot
Point du Mardi Gras and partook in a spontaneous party that is often referred to as North
America's first Mardi Gras.
Gabriel and Maria Ferrucci have a long history of community service and charitable
involvement. Italian-born Gabriel Ferrucci is a self-made success story. He immigrated
to the United States in 1957 speaking very little English and knowing nothing about the
country he was adopting as his home. Holding degrees in education and accounting, Mr.
Ferrucci successfully served in various managerial positions at Raytheon and other
corporations before acquiring Keystone Engineering Corp., where he served as Chief
Executive. He retired in 2001 and has since dedicated himself to the advancement of
ethical business practices and education.
Maria has dedicated her life to her family and to serving her community and faith. In the
early years of their married life, she worked to save money for the down payment on their
first home. It is Maria’s strong faith that helped to support Gabriel in his work and
created a loving home for their three children; Rina, Anna and Joseph. Maria ensured that
their children had a solid parochial education. In addition to caring for her growing
family, Maria managed to find time to devote to many charitable and religious
organizations. The Ferrucci’s have also been blessed with six grandchildren who all live
in Orange County.
The Ferrucci’s have contributed to many Diocesan and parish projects including St.
Francis Cabrini Church in North Haven, Connecticut and Christ Our King Church in
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. They are currently communicants of St. Nicholas
Church in Laguna Woods where they continue their legacy of service as active volunteers
on several Parish boards and are dedicated philanthropists throughout Orange County.
Individually and as a couple, the Ferrucci’s have received a long list of awards and
recognitions reflecting their life-long commitment to the works of mercy and their
dedication to the Catholic Church.
“We are blessed as a Catholic community to have such devoted philanthropists and
ethical leaders as Gabriel and Maria Ferrucci. Their commitment to the mission of Jesus
Christ is truly an inspiration to us all and I am pleased to recognize them as the King and
Queen of Mardi Gras,” concluded Bishop Brown.
About Catholic Charities:
Catholic Charities of Orange County, Inc. is a non-profit organization that makes
available a broad base of services to all Orange County residents regardless of religious,
ethnic, racial and social backgrounds. Catholic Charities works with individuals to define,
design and implement family-friendly programs that promote economic opportunity,
educational achievement, family enrichment, community health and neighborhood
THE MARYWOOD CENTER
2811 E. VILLA REAL DRIVE
P. O. BOX 14195
ORANGE, CALIFORNIA 92863-1595
PHONE: (714) 282-3000
FAX: (714) 282-3029