TCA’s Iron Mikes Gala, scheduled for April 22, will recognize five individuals for their dedication to the school and its mission in the Diocese of Trenton across the years. Among the honorees will be Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.

The event will take place at the Cedar Gardens Banquet, Hamilton, with cocktails beginning at 6 p.m. and dinner following from 7 to 11 p.m. In addition to the Bishop, four other honorees will be recognized with awards specific to their contributions: Marty Flynn, Judith M. Persichilli, Rick Dell and John Lally.

“We are very blessed at Trenton Catholic Academy, and we receive great support from alumni, individuals and corporations throughout the year,” said Sister of St. Joseph Dorothy Payne, TCA president. “Our annual Iron Mike Gala is a wonderful opportunity to highlight, recognize and celebrate those friends and benefactors and thank them for their generosity and for their dedication to Catholic education. This year, we are proud to include Bishop O’Connell as an honoree and thank him for his continuous support of Trenton Catholic Academy and our students.”

The original Iron Mike, Msgr. Michael McCorristin, requested permission to build a Catholic high school for area youth when then-Bishop George W. Ahr announced the closure of the all-boys Trenton Catholic High School in 1961.

The Iron Mike Foundation continues Msgr. McCorristin’s dream to provide a Catholic education to area youth, and affords financial aid for students who require such assistance, provides funding for capital improvements and imparts additional curriculum and educational resources to the school community.

Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M. – Serve the Youth Award

Bishop of Trenton, and former president of The Catholic University of America from 1988 to 2008, Bishop O’Connell  grew up in eastern Pennsylvania. He is a priest of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, also known as the Vincentians – the same order of priests who taught at St. Joseph Preparatory High School, Princeton, which he attended. In 1978, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Niagara University, N.Y., then went on to Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, Pa., where he received a master of divinity degree in 1981 and a master’s degree in moral theology in 1983.

On May 29, 1982, he was ordained a priest of the Congregation of the Mission in Mary Immaculate Seminary by Bishop Joseph McShea of the Diocese of Allentown. He obtained a licentiate from The Catholic University of America, Washington, in 1987, and then a doctorate in canon law in 1990. He has since received numerous honorary academic degrees from various colleges and universities.

Following his tenure as CUA president, Pope Benedict XVI appointed then-Father O’Connell as Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Trenton in June 2010. He was ordained to the episcopacy by Bishop John M. Smith in St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, on July 30, 2010. When Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation of Bishop Smith on Dec. 1, 2010, Bishop O’Connell automatically succeeded him as the 10th Bishop of Trenton.

Bishop O’Connell has been a staunch supporter of Catholic education, implementing efforts to build sustainability of the Catholic schools in the Diocese. Outside the Diocese, Bishop O’Connell continues to be an advocate for and a presence in Catholic education and is a former consultor to the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education. 

Marty Flynn, ’69 – Alumni Making a Difference Award 

Marty Flynn began a lifelong dedication to education and athletics by attending St. Raphael School and St. Anthony High School, Hamilton Township.

Following high school graduation and a post graduate year at Bordentown Military Institute, Flynn attended The College of New Jersey, playing both football and baseball, to pursue a career as a teacher and coach, earning a bachelor of science degree in health and physical education, a master of science in health education and additional certification for New Jersey principal and supervisor. He later added a national certification as athletic administrator through the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.

After graduation from TCNJ, Flynn was hired by Hamilton High School West, and for 22 of his 40 years in education and administration, taught health and physical education while coaching baseball and football. During his 19-year tenure as head baseball coach his teams won 306 games, including several championship titles. Flynn was district athletic director for 15 years in West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional school district, and a key member of the planning team for construction of its High School North and Grover Middle School. He served on the board of directors of Mercer County CYO.

Flynn currently serves as director of technology and economic development as part of Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede’s administrative team, helping to promote and keep businesses in Hamilton.

Judith M. Persichilli – Systemic Change Award

Judith M. Persichilli, R.N., B.S.N., M.A., is president emerita, CHE Trinity Health – the new health ministry formed May 2013 by the consolidation of Catholic Health East and Trinity Health of Livonia, Mich. She previously served as the interim president and chief executive officer of CHE Trinity Health.

Before joining CHE’s System Office, she served for eight years as CEO at St. Francis Medical Center in Trenton, Persichilli received her nursing diploma from the St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in 1968; a bachelor of science in nursing from Rutgers University in 1976, and a master of arts in administration from Rider College in 1980. She also received an honorary doctor of health degree from Georgian Court University in 2009. In May 2011, Persichilli received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Persichilli is a member of various community agencies and several community boards, including the Health Care Administration Board of the State of New Jersey on appointment by the Governor.  Among her many varied awards in healthcare, Persichilli received the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton’s 2008 Richard J. Hughes Humanitarian Award, and the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI in 2011.

Persichilli resides in Pennington with her husband, Pennington Mayor Anthony Persichilli.

Rick Dell, ’72 – Achievement in Athletics and in Life Award

Rick Dell is a graduate of St. Anthony High School where he was a standout baseball player.  He spent 27 years coaching baseball and soccer at the College of New Jersey, Ewing.  In 2007, he left the Division III School to pursue a new career path as the Director of Baseball Development, Asia, Major League Baseball.  He now resides in Beijing and visits his home to spend time with his mother and his sister.  Dell was previously honored at the school as one of the “50 Golden Iron Mikes” in 2013, and has said he is “flattered and honored” to be recognized at the Gala.

John Lally – Dedication to Education Award

John Lally will be honored posthumously for his dedication to education.  Lally was an educator at St. Anthony High School, where he served as a religion and English teacher, guidance counselor and coach for a number of years.  He also worked part-time in the graduate office at TCNJ. He worked for the Department of Education as a spokesperson for non-public schools. Lally was a parishioner in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, West Trenton, where he served as an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist and a Lector. He was also active with the school board in TCA. He was a Committeeman for the 19th District in Ewing Township. His wife Lynn and his daughters will accept the award at the Gala.