I have had the wonderful opportunity to know Bishop Bruno for over 20 years, but it was not until I started working for HFS 9 years ago that I had the privilege to truly get to know him better.
Holy Family Services, Adoption and Foster Care would not be in existence today without the amazing support and leadership of The Rt. Rev. J Jon Bruno. In the early 2000’s when the Roman Catholic Church decided to close HFS due to federal anti-discrimination laws that included the LGBTQ+ community, Bishop Bruno intervened to keep Southern California’s oldest adoption agency opened by welcoming HFS into the Episcopal Church.
Bishop Bruno not only gave us a new home at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, where we established our headquarters at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, but he and his wife, Mary, both actively participated as members of our Board, offering items for our annual fundraisers, and graciously hosting our annual “200 Associates” events for several years.
On a personal note, I recognized how important the success of HFS was to him. Bishop Bruno would ask regularly how we were doing and whether we needed anything. He helped promote the agency by connecting us with funders in the non-profit sector and was our biggest cheerleader throughout our successes.
One experience that, to me, reflected Bishop Bruno’s deep love and care for others occurred during the unfortunate death of a young baby. While in the process of being adopted, the five-month-old was unexpectedly hospitalized and died as the result of a rare autoimmune disease. Bishop Bruno learned of the news and offered to pay for all of the funeral expenses without hesitation. I learned that his compassion was unwavering and persistent.
I will always remember his strong handshake, his gentle heart – especially with children – and his unwavering love. My heart goes out to Mary and the rest of his family for their loss. He will be remembered fondly, and a part of his spirit will continue to live on here at Holy Family Services.
Julie Brown, Executive Director