Just over a week before Pope Francis is scheduled to make his much-anticipated arrival in Philadelphia, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden will hold its annual Justice for All Awards Dinner, on Thursday, September 17, one of the final events in its 40 Days of Francis countdown to the Pope’s visit.
“This year it is extremely fortuitous that this annual fundraiser, which for years has honored the achievements of exemplary members of our community and their outstanding dedication to social justice, should coincide with the visit of this particular Pope,” said Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden.
The dinner, which raises funds providing much-needed direct assistance to those Catholic Charities’ serves throughout the six southern New Jersey counties, also honors Justice in Action awardees each year for their work in advancing the cause of justice.
This year’s recipient of the Justice in Action Organizational award will be the Camden County Police Department, under the leadership of Police Chief J. Scott Thomson.
“In its commitment to reducing violence in a city where 40% of residents live below the federal poverty level, the Camden County Police Department shares in that mission by protecting the vulnerable and cultivating peace. And they’ve done so in a way that strengthens city residents’ own ability to participate in that work,” Hickey said in an earlier release announcing the department as the award recipient.
The Justice in Action Individual Awardee this year is Sister Graciela Rosas, MDPVM, a religious sister born in Mexico who serves as a pastoral associate with the Parish of the Holy Cross in Bridgeton. Her work includes advocacy for the rights of immigrants in her community and she has been an outspoken political and spiritual support for immigrant families.
“[The immigrants] are a blessing for me, for this parish, for this diocese and for this nation. They are hard workers, people of faith, who need to live in a better situation. They deserve it. They are children of God. It’s a blessing for me to be close to them,” Sister Rosas said.
Catholic Charities will serve more than 1,800 individuals and families within the six southern New Jersey counties that make up the Diocese of Camden with the funds raised by the dinner. Since its inception in 2004, the dinner has raised more than $640,000. Every penny is used to end crises, prevent evictions and utility disconnection (electric, gas and oil), provide for food and prescription needs, and create stabilization within families.
The dinner comes this year in the middle of Catholic Charities’ 40 Days of Francis campaign, an effort to lead the Diocese of Camden in preparation for Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia in September through education about the poverty that exists in the region and the ways to help combat it.
The agency held a series of open houses the last week of August at all of its centers to help residents familiarize themselves with its services, distributed “knots’ with statistics about poverty to all 65 Diocesan parishes, and will hold a Diocesan-wide food relay involving local high schools on September 14, among other initiatives. All donations resulting from the campaign, including proceeds from 40 Days of Francis T-shirt sales, have been directed to the Justice for All Dinner fund.
When: September 17, 2015 5:30-9:00 p.m.
Where: Adelphia Grand Ballroom in Deptford, NJ
To become an event sponsor, learn more or purchase a ticket:
Diocese of Camden Development Office: 856-342-6126