Honoring a Champion for Persons with Special Needs
November is not just about falling leaves; it’s about embracing the diverse abilities of all individuals. It is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of persons with disabilities, acknowledging the richness they bring to our communities..
The hope is that the awareness kindled during this month becomes a catalyst for lasting change. By shining a spotlight on the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, we aspire to cultivate an environment of understanding, empathy, and inclusivity
In the spirit of this commitment, we remember Sr. Janice, a true champion for inclusivity. Her legacy continues to inspire, and we invite you to join us in honoring her memory by making a gift. Your gift will support initiatives that champion the well-being of individuals with disabilities.
A Legacy Remembered
Many of those touched by Sr. Janice attended her Memorial Mass at St. Thomas More Church, Allentown, on January 31, 2023. She was remembered as an advocate for people with special needs with her tender, yet pointed, voice.
“We gather around the altar to pray to God in thanksgiving for Sr. Janice’s life, mission, and ministry,” said Monsignor John McCann, Homilist. He remembered her as someone who worked hard in service to persons with special needs. Her “spirited enthusiasm” was seen in her holy endeavors to do God’s work on Earth.
Sr. Janice’s acts of mercy are not exhausted and her compassion is not spent. Her good works will live on forever.
About the Newly Established Sr. Janice Marie Johnson R.S.M Persons With Disabilities Ministry Endowment Fund
Thanks to a donor who volunteered with Sister Janice Marie Johnson, R.S.M., for more than 35 years, a new endowment fund has been created in her memory. It honors her 65 years of service to persons with disabilities. As we cherish the memory of Sister Janice, who died January 7, 2023, this new fund will enable her work to continue to help the Catholic causes to which she was dearly devoted.
Gary Iacocca, president of Yocco’s, first met Sister Janice when she was the principal of the Mercy Day School in Allentown, which is now the Mercy School for Special Learning. Iacocca was instrumental in forming a development resource committee to help the school generate support in the community.
“Sister Janice had an incredible amount of energy, drive and compassion,” Iacocca said. “She devoted her life to helping people of all ages with disabilities, and their families, live a fulfilled, and faith-filled life.
“She was my friend, my mentor and my guiding light. I am so grateful to have known her and to have played a part in helping her do such meaningful work.”
The fund that Iacocca started is the Sr. Janice Marie Johnson R.S.M. Persons With Disabilities Ministry Endowment Fund. It is managed by the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania, where Sister Janice worked as a Major Gifts Officer before her final retirement in June 2021.
The fund supports the ongoing efforts in the Diocese of Allentown to continue the good work started by Sister Janice, including but not limited to ongoing program support of a dedicated staffed ministry office to manage the Ministry for Persons With Disabilities program, the Aquinas Education Program at all levels, accessibility efforts and programs at parishes, schools and ministries, and programs at the Diocesan learning centers (Mercy School, John Paul II Center in Reading and St. Joseph Center in Pottsville).
“It is my hope that everyone who knew Sister Janice, and was touched by her love, will support this endowment so the mission of helping persons with disabilities that Sister advocated for so passionately will continue,” Iacocca said.
Her Good Work Lives On
Pete Waldron, President of the Catholic Foundation, was moved by Iacocca’s memorial gift for their former staff member.
“Saying a final goodbye to a trusted and hard-working colleague is never easy,” Waldron said. “We appreciate Gary’s generosity and leadership in starting this endowment and making sure Sister Janice will be remembered forever and her good work lives on.”
For more information, please call 385-FOREVER.
You may learn more about this endowment fund here. Gifts may also be mailed payable to:
The Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA
P.O. Box 1430
Allentown, PA 18105
(Please note on your payment: Sr. Janice’s fund)