The first annual Justice for All Awards dinner was held in 2004. At that dinner five awards were given honoring the exceptional achievements of luminaries within the Diocese of Camden. Their names became the titles for the four awards given annually at the dinner for the next eight years, honoring their spirit of work for justice in future awardees. In 2013, the dinner had a single awardee, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Camden, Joesph A. Galante. In 2014, two new “Justice in Action” awards replaced the original four, one for individuals and one for organizations.

Below, read about the former recipients and their accomplishments.



2004: Namesakes of the Original Justice for All Awards

Bishop DiMarzio was the bishop of the Diocese of Camden from 1999 through 2003 and was known for his leadership and administrative skills along with his pastoral care and attention to the people of the Diocese of Camden, including the most vulnerable.  Shortly after arriving in the Diocese, Bishop DiMarzio established the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries, Office of Black Catholic Ministry, Office of Hispanic Ministry and has made Migration and Immigration issues a central area of concern.  He brought together leaders of the profit and non-profit sectors in South Jersey to form the Greater Camden Partnership to attract redevelopment to Camden City, the second poorest cities in the nation.

The Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Award for Leadership recognizes the strong pastoral and administrative leadership of the former head of the Camden Diocese in the area of social concern for the poor and the vulnerable.

Msgr. Michael Doyle, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in South Camden, has been ministering to this community since 1974.  He helped establish the Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP), which asks congregations to work together through collective action to address the many problems facing families and congregations in the city. A committed pacifist, Msgr. Doyle was arrested and acquitted for raiding a draft board during the Vietnam conflict as part of the Camden 28. In 1984, Heart of Camden was established under Msgr. Doyle’s direction and has acquired and rehabilitated over 120 houses in South Camden for sale to low income residents.

The Msgr. Michael Doyle and Msgr. Robert McDermott Award for Parish and Community Ministry honors the pioneering efforts of the pastors of two exceptionally socially active parishes, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Pro Cathedral.

Msgr. Robert McDermott is pastor of St. Joseph Pro Cathedral Church in East Camden. In addition to multiple parish responsibilities, Msgr. McDermott was responsible for the initiation of the St. Joseph Carpenter Society in 1985, which provides quality affordable housing to over 400 families in East Camden.  The St. Joseph Carpenter Society has rehabbed over 300 houses and also trains the community on responsible home ownership and maintenance programs.  He also was a catalyst in the formation of Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP). The Oscar Romero Center, which provides justice education for adults, families, college and high school students, was another venture started under the direction of Msgr. McDermott.

The Msgr. Michael Doyle and Msgr. Robert McDermott Award for Parish and Community Ministry honors the pioneering efforts of the pastors of two exceptionally socially active parishes, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph Pro Cathedral.

Sr. Grace Nolan was the coordinator of the Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden Atlantic County Family Services and Community Center. This program annually provides case management, emergency financial services and crisis pregnancy services to more than 8,000 families and individuals in need from Atlantic County. Sr. Grace forged business and community relationships, which support the work of the Center, and had an unwavering commitment to the vulnerable. Sr. Grace retired in 2011.

The Sister Grace Nolan Award for Social Ministry honors the enduring and standard setting coordinator of Catholic charities’ services to the poor of Atlantic County, touching thousands of people annually.

Peter J. O’Connor is the founder and executive director of Fair Share Housing Center Inc. and Fair Share Housing Development, Inc., of Cherry Hill, NJ.  As a non-profit corporation, Fair Share Housing Center advocates for adequate and appropriate housing for low income individuals and families. Additionally, Mr. O’Connor’s development organization has built and now manages more than 800 units of affordable rental housing in Camden and the surrounding suburban region.  He also was one of the original attorneys in two landmark state Supreme Court decisions, known as the “Mount Laurel Doctrines” which require each community in the state to provide affordable housing opportunities for all citizens.

The Peter J. O’Connor Award for Social Justice honors the founder of Fair Share Housing Center and Fair Share Housing Development, Inc. and one of the plaintiff’s attorneys in two landmark state Supreme Court cases that now set the standard for affordable housing policy in New Jersey.


2005 Awardees

Based in Camden, NJ, Romero Center Ministries provides Catholic education and retreat experiences inspired by Archbishop Oscar Romero’s prophetic witness. Its mission is to seek personal, communal, and societal transformation by living ministry as proclaimed in Christ’s Gospel.

Romero Center Ministries was founded on March 24, 1998, on the 18th anniversary of the martyrdom of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral parish came into possession of a large former convent on its campus and had a vision for an urban retreat center that would ground people in Jesus’ call to serve the poor among us. It began with the intention of bringing the Church community to Camden to experience an enlightened conversion and commitment. Presently, Romero Center Ministries fulfills its mission and vision by providing a variety of programs geared towards students, young adults, adults, and church and lay leaders. Please explore our website for more information on programs that might be of interest to you.


2006 Awardees

Reggie Beckett has dedicated his life to his large family, a career in law enforcement and a ministry of service to the Catholic Church. During his law enforcement career, Beckett devoted nearly 30 years working for the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. He retired recently at the rank of captain and director of the Camden County Police Academy. In that position, he oversaw the training of up to 150 police recruits each year. Applicants came for training from police departments, the Camden County Sheriff’s Department, Delaware River Port Authority and other policing organizations around the tri-county area.

Prior to the Academy responsibility, Beckett served in the Juvenile, Internal Affairs, Arson, Major Crimes, Child Abuse, Homicide and Career Criminal units within the Prosecutor’s Office. At St. Rose of Lima Parish, Beckett is an Extraordinary Minister, has served on numerous parish committees over the years and, during Thanksgiving and Christmas, has been instrumental in connecting resources of food and gifts from the parish to families in need.

In 1971, Beckett joined the Knights of Columbus and has been a leading force, not only with his local council, Santa Maria Council 1443 in Haddon Township, but also on the state level. Currently, he is the New Jersey State Deputy responsible for management and direction of the Knights of Columbus throughout the state.

The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y. have had an immeasurable impact on the lives of thousands of southern New Jersey residents through their service in education and healthcare. Serving eight Catholic elementary schools and a high school between 1927 and 1998, the Sisters not only taught reading, writing and arithmetic, they also helped shape values and a sense of morality in an ever-changing world. The Sisters arrived in southern New Jersey in 1927, the sisters opened eight schools in 30 years and contributed a total of 337 years of service in all to the children of southern New Jersey.

In 1950 they opened Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden. The inscription above the main entrance, “The Body Is Often Curable — The Soul Is Ever So,” spoke to the new hospital’s mission. Challenged by the economic decline of the city in the 1960s, the Franciscan Sisters developed top-quality specialty services that would draw patients from throughout southern New Jersey. These services would support the hospital’s mission of staying in Camden and providing quality care to its residents while also serving the growing suburban population. The hospital facility has been expanded and improved many times to meet programmatic needs and to introduce new services. The Osborn Family Health Center offers primary and specialty care to low-income area residents, with an emphasis on combating high infant mortality rates. Project H.O.P.E. assists Camden’s homeless with their medical, social and behavioral problems through a mobile clinic and at a downtown facility. The Bridge, another outreach program, gives teenagers a safe place to discuss the issues impacting their lives.

In 1995 Sister Helen established Guadalupe Family Services, a social service ministry of the Jesuit Urban Service Team (JUST) in North Camden. Her unflinching advocacy on behalf of the city’s poor has earned the respect of people of all classes and backgrounds. Sister Helen dedicates her life to strengthening and reconciling the foundation of the Camden community – families. From a once-grand row house on State Street, she has helped thousands of individuals and families with counseling, social services, violence prevention programs and community education. In a community where law-abiding citizens are the ones sitting behind barred windows, Sister Helen is there with unquestionable faith and genuine love. For ten years running, Sister Helen has conducted a year-end vigil for Camden’s homicide victims. At this vigil, each murder victim has a specified hour dedicated whereby family members, friends and the community can come together to remember, grieve and pray for the victim and that peace will come to Camden.

Formed in July 2003 by a group of concerned citizens and clergy across denominational and municipal boundaries in South Jersey, SJREOP unites congregations, institutions and municipalities throughout South Jersey to build and defend stronger communities and building a stronger region.

Economic stress, urban sprawl, municipal fragmentation and racial divisions undermine stable neighborhoods, congregations, schools and towns. But individual citizens and organizations lack the strength and time to resist these powerful forces that distress their families and communities. SJREOP enlists citizens, institutions and congregations to play a collective role in influencing and shaping policies that impact their own families, neighborhoods and communities. This institutional organizing enables people to build stronger communities through developing leadership, building relationships and creating powerful alliances.

Additionally, SJREOP is building the political base vital to advancing its goals in Southern New Jersey by linking grassroots leaders and organizations with leaders and advocates of the New Jersey’ smart growth movement. This marriage of community, research, policy and advocacy produced a powerful voice that is heard by important New Jersey policy makers.


2007 Awardees

Jack P. Callahan, a long-time resident of Cherry Hill, was awarded the Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio Award for Leadership in recognition for his outstanding work as a leader in the Christian community, including countless decades of volunteer work and service to various charitable organizations.

Throughout his life of volunteer service, Callahan was instrumental in bringing the first ecumenical prison ministry in Cumberland County known as Kairos, which has held programs in all New Jersey prisons for the past 25 years. An active member of N.J. Justice Fellowship Task Force since the early 1990s and its chair since 1995, this non-profit organization examined issues of justice in the judicial and correctional systems.

Callahan helped launch New Jerseyans for a Death Penalty Moratorium, which he currently serves in an advisory capacity. Additionally, Callahan serves as co-chairman for New Jersey for the National Prayer Breakfast held annually in Washington, D.C. Callahan is an accomplished business professional and leader with the State of New Jersey, as a business consultant and a leader in business education in our community. He holds a bachelor’s degree from LaSalle University and has pursued graduate studies. He has taught as an adjunct professor of Rutgers University Graduate School and has guest lectured at other universities.

Covenant House New Jersey (Atlantic City) is receiving the Monsignor Michael Doyle and Monsignor Robert McDermott Award for Parish Social Ministry in recognition for outstanding service to the community and helping young people in their time of need. Covenant House is instrumental in getting children and young adults off the tough streets of the inner city and into school and job training, with a plan for their future. Additionally, Covenant House New Jersey is the largest provider in the state of services to homeless and at-risk adolescents between the ages of 16 and 21. In 2006, the organization provided services to more than 370 youth. Learn more about the organization, visit

Vincent Guest was recognized for his tireless efforts to assist those in need of legal counsel and assistance through his charitable works at the Camden Center for Law and Social Justice, Inc. or CCLSJ, a faith-based public interest law center serving the immigrant community and working poor. Guest’s work at CCLSJ was instrumental in helping more than 5,000 legal cases on an annual basis — making this the largest provider of legal services to the immigrant community in all of Southern New Jersey.

Under Guest’s leadership, the law center expanded its service from Camden to Atlantic City, assisting the ever-increasing immigrant population in Atlantic County. Additionally, Guest launched the Camden County Domestic Violence Project, offering legal services to all victims of domestic violence throughout the county.

Guest has been practicing law for nine years. Along with his work with CCLSJ, Guest was also an associate at the law firm of Wright, Young & McGilvery in Blue Bell, Pa., and served as a government liaison for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary of Wynnewood, Pa., a master’s degree in government administration from Temple University and was awarded his Juris Doctorate from Temple University School of Law. Guest is an active member of the N.J. Bar Association, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and St.Thomas More Society.

Since receiving his award, Vincent Guest entered the seminary and was ordained a priest. He currently serves as pastor of the Parish of the Holy Cross in Cumberland County.

New Jerseyans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (NJADP) was honored with the Peter J. O’Connor Award for Social Justice, in honor of their dedication and tireless work to abolish the death penalty in the State of New Jersey. NJADP staff and leadership committees represent a broad spectrum of New Jersey citizens and groups working together to end capital punishment in the state. Since its inception in 1999, this group has engaged in a grassroots public education campaign which helped turn the tide of popular opinion on the death penalty, setting the stage for legislation now pending which will change the death penalty to life without parole in New Jersey. Learn more about this group’s ongoing social justice efforts at


2008 Awardees

During his 14 years as general manager of the Philadelphia Eagles, Murray assumed leadership roles in a number of community projects. He helped start the successful Eagles Fly for Leukemia campaign. Additionally, he was a founder of the first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia and helped persuade many of his peers in the NFL to become involved in the Ronald McDonald House concept. The Ronald McDonald Houses provide temporary homes, at little or no cost, for the families of children undergoing treatment for various illnesses at nearby hospitals. Started in Philadelphia in 1974, there are now over 270 Ronald McDonald Houses worldwide.

He is also president of Jim Murray Ltd., a sports promotion and marketing firm. Murray’s numerous honors and awards include the first annual Leonard Tose Award, Citizen of the Year Award from the American Medical Association and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Legion. He was inducted into the Philadelphia City All-Star Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and received the Bert Bell Man of the Year Award from the Bakers Club of Philadelphia and the Award for Outstanding Catholic Leadership from the Catholic Leadership Institute.

Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP) received the Monsignor Michael Doyle and Monsignor Robert McDermott Award for Parish Social Ministry in recognition of their outstanding service to the community. CCOP has been an active and prophetic presence in the city of Camden since 1985. It is a covenant among congregations to work together through collective action in addressing the many problems facing families and congregations in the city. The goal of this covenant between churches is to strengthen relationships in each congregation, and between congregations throughout the community. As congregations identify common concerns, through the process of community organization, they address the issues by putting values into action – not just on Sunday, but seven days a week.

At age 22, Vallone attended a Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia as part of America’s bicentennial celebration. Mother Teresa spoke at the event, and he and the friends who attended with him were so inspired by her words, they resolved to help the poor on the streets of Camden. They scraped together $146 and began a volunteer program serving soup and sandwiches to those in need.

Thirty years later this simple ministry has become the largest emergency meal program in Camden. Now operating as the Cathedral Kitchen, over 7,500 meals are served to the poor each month. Vallone still serves as a member of the Cathedral Kitchen board of directors and has worked tirelessly to keep its mission alive. This year he witnessed the groundbreaking for a new facility to house Cathedral Kitchen’s first permanent home. At the new location, which is expected to open in 2008, services to the poor will be expanded to include job training, medical care and other programs designed to increase the self-sufficiency of the Kitchen’s dinner guests.

Project ONE team members were honored with the Peter J. O’Connor Award for Social Justice in honor of their dedication to significant social justice issues in the Gulf Region and their efforts in helping to rebuild the Gulf Coast with those most affected by the devastation wrought in August of 2006 by Hurricane Katrina.

Catholic Charities’ Project ONE initiative operated between 2007 and 2009, sending nearly 600 parishioners from the Camden Diocese to the Gulf Region to participate in the recovery and clean-up efforts of those areas most affected by Hurricane Katrina. Project ONE allowed volunteers to demonstrate their faith in action by working in solidarity with the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and residents of these locales affected. It was an opportunity for individuals to demonstrate their belief that ‘we are one’: one people, one community and one human family. Additionally, it introduced these participants to a number of social justice concerns and challenged them to a new awareness of personal and spiritual responsibility.


2009 Awardees

After 22 years of working in the corporate world, mostly in area hospitals, Mr. Connor wanted to give back to the church and his community. For 10 years before his death in 2010, he was a behind-the-scenes leader in the diocese, encouraging others to follow their callings.

“One of his biggest joys was getting the kids to [participate] in service projects and help out the poor,” said his wife, Linda Wray.

Once Mr. Connor left Frankford Hospital in 2000, he was hired as director of development for Catholic Charities in Camden, where he served for eight years and led the agency’s Project ONE initiative following Hurricane Katrina. He traveled to Louisiana three or four times as part of a “gutting crew,” which cleaned up destroyed properties to make room for new homes.

In 2008, he was appointed director of the Camden Diocese’s Lay Ministry Formation Program. Mr. Connor’s belief that lay ministers should be not just volunteers but also experts in their ministry led to an educational program that offers theology formation classes. Connor was also the director of youth ministry for Holy Savior Parish in Westmont for about 20 years and enjoyed working in conjunction with the Romero Center in Camden. As an adjunct professor, Mr. Connor taught classes in hospital administration at Gwynedd-Mercy College and at St. Joseph’s University.

Father Jeff Putthoff, SJ has lived and worked in Camden, N.J. for the last 17 years. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Hopeworks ‘N Camden, a youth technology portal using the technologies of web site design/development and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to work with youth ages 14-23 in Camden. Father Jeff Putthoff, SJ has been a Jesuit priest for 11 years and a Jesuit for 23 years. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from Saint Louis University; Masters in English from Loyola Chicago; Masters of Divinity and of Theology from Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. He is currently studying at the University of Pennsylvania for a Masters in Organizational Dynamics and is enrolled in the A.K. Rice Institute training program.

Bill became engaged as a pro-life speaker for the Diocese of Camden, offering 100+ talks to teenagers about life issues and chastity. From 2001-2005, Bill was named Coordinator of the Pro- Life Office for the Diocese of Camden. Bill’s tenure was marked by energetically working to partner with religious, political, and community leaders in social justice, family life, and right to life ministries. While serving in the pro-life office, Bill became increasingly aware of the local need for safe housing and education for homeless pregnant women and their children. A fortuitous meeting with Chris Bell, co-founder of Good Counsel Inc., launched a project to establish a maternity home in South Jersey. Over the last several years Bill and his leadership team, volunteers, and supporters have raised funds and friends sufficient to begin this necessary project.

Nelva Ancona Paraison has been an energetic advocate for equal access to health care for Hispanic people for more than twenty years. She is a founding member of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), a member of the Hispanic Task Force formed by the Centers for Disease Control to address cultural needs in health care delivery, and a collaborative member of the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Although employed full time by Community Health Care, Inc., Nelva’s commitment to justice for all led her to create Centro Guadalupano which is a branch of DH/Perfil Latino TV, Inc., a non-profit organization providing social and educational services to non-English speakers. Celebrating Hispanic traditions has always been important to Nelva, who annually hosts over 65 families for Posadas in her home. For the past twelve years she has hosted a community television program, Perfil Latino. Through her commitment to justice, Nelva has ensured that thousands of Hispanic people are part of the fabric of American life.


2010 Awardees

Robert T. Healey has brought his entrepreneurial spirit to many philanthropic ventures. He combines a commitment to Catholic values with the drive of a business executive who has been part of many successful ventures. In addition to practicing law for 25 years in New Jersey’s state and federal courts, Bob joined his brother, Bill, in founding Viking Yacht Company. With Bob concentrating on the financial and business sides and Bill focusing on the design, engineering, production, and performance side, the brothers grew their partnership into the Viking Group, comprising the Viking Yacht Company, Viking Sport Cruisers, and five other marine businesses. A lifelong, deeply felt commitment to Catholic values has led Bob to devote considerable time and resources to effecting positive change with the Church, especially in the field of education. He considers the revitalization of Catholic schools to be his personal ministry and eventual legacy.

A native of the Bronx, Sister Helen worked as a mission nurse in Bolivia in the 1960s and 1970s before joining Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in 1979 as director of community health education. That year, she established the Lourdes Wellness Center, the first hospital-based health program geared to improve residents’ health and lifestyle. In 1980, she founded The Bridge, a nationally recognized program that positively supports the psychological, social and spiritual needs of adolescents. In 1993, Sister Helen developed the Lourdes Institute of Wholistic Studies and in 2003 was instrumental in opening Lourdes’ integrative family medicine practice, which blends complementary care with mainstream medicine. Vice president since 1986, she is responsible for promoting Lourdes’ mission, vision and values throughout the organization.

Alyce Parker is the Vice President of Public Affairs for Harrah’s Entertainment, the world’s largest gaming and entertainment company. She is directly responsible for all media, governmental, and community relations for five locations in Atlantic City: Harrah’s Resort, Bally’s, Showboat, Caesars, and the Atlantic City Country Club. Throughout her career Alyce has supported many people and agencies in South Jersey, including hospitals, youth organizations, and government agencies. Through her community involvement, she has developed a special relationship and devotion to Catholic Charities where she sincerely supports their mission of service to over 40,000 individuals and families throughout South Jersey. She especially sees the value of Catholic Charity’s service to the poor and needy on an inclusive, non-discriminatory, non-sectarian basis.

Catholic Charities USA was presented with the 2010 Peter J. O’Connor Award for Social Justice in honor of their 100th anniversary. Since 1910 Catholic Charities USA has been providing service to people in need, advocating for justice in social structures, and has called the entire church and other people of God to do the same. Through its leadership, Catholic Charities USA assists its membership, particularly the diocesan Catholic Charities agencies and supporting group members, in their mission of service, advocacy and convening. Believing in the presence of God in their midst, Catholic Charities leadership proclaims the sanctity of human life and the dignity of the person by sharing in the mission of Jesus given to the Church. To this end, Catholic Charities USA works with individuals, families and communities to help them meet their needs, address poverty, eliminate oppression, and build a just and compassionate society.


2011 Awardees

Through the Ravitz Family Foundation, generations of the Ravitz’s have been aiding children and families in need in Southern New Jersey since 1996. The Ravitz family – owners of Supermarkets of Cherry Hill, Inc., which operates six ShopRite supermarkets in the area – generously support local charitable organizations, religious groups, schools and members of the community. Through their passion and dedication to helping others, the Ravitz’s have made making a difference in the lives of their neighbors a “family affair.”

Belief in family and partnership has been a theme in the lives of Jim and Lynn Cummings since their relationship began. Whether they are ministering to their community family through Neighbors Empowering Pennsauken, ministering to their parish family through their participation in the Worldwide Marriage Encounter, or ministering to the Cummings family and their legacy through passions like Build Jake’s Place, they are doing it as a couple and their lives and the lives of those around them have been more fulfilled as a result.

Msgr. Mannion, currently the director of Community Relations for the Diocese of Camden, has been involved in many ministries over the course of his career. As rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Camden, he established strong relationships with area community leaders, non-profits and law enforcement agencies. Active in pro-life work, both in the Diocese and internationally, he has worked with the Diocesan Pro Life office and as a moderator for Project Rachel, a ministry to women who have had abortions. His most recent passion in the service of others is his work with Discovery Ministries, a retreat program for youth, young adults and families.

Twenty years ago, Ron Evans, a lifelong resident of Camden, a Korean War Veteran and a retired employee of the U.S. Department of Labor, was searching for a way to address the growing problems in his community. Evans had been involved in numerous community initiatives from the 1950s to the 1970s, but was feeling frustrated at what he found. He was looking for an organization with a commitment that was non-partisan and trying to work for change. As a result, Evans established Camden Churches Organized for People (CCOP), which works to address the problems of unemployment, crime, inadequate housing and healthcare as well as the unmet needs of youth, senior citizens, families and congregations in the city.


2012 Awardees

In every facet of his life, Thomas Cavalieri, D.O., has shown a strong commitment to his faith, his profession, his family and the people to whom he brings medical service. As a geriatric educator and clinician, he has been an advocate for older adults for more than 25 years, raising the standard of care for them and helping the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s School of Osteopathic Medicine (UMDNJ-SOM) to achieve national recognition in the field of geriatrics. Cavalieri currently serves as dean of what is now Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, professor of medicine and endowed chair for Primary Care Research. He previously served as the director of the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging (formerly the Center for Aging, where he was Founding Director) and chair of the Department of Medicine.

The late Joseph Balzano began his career at the Port of Camden in 1951 as an office clerk and equipment operator. In 1989, he was appointed as the South Jersey Port Corporation’s executive director and chief executive officer. For more than five decades, Balzano was a major force in the City of Camden, spearheading port expansion and economic development and fighting tirelessly for Camden’s less-fortunate residents. He was an active and dedicated member of Sacred Heart Church, remembered for his yearly Christmas tree and countless other generosities. During Balzano’s lifetime, he received countless awards and recognition for his legendary port operations expertise and his contributions to the community at large.

Ann Budde is a woman of many firsts. She was the first woman to become vice president of a non-Catholic hospital in New Jersey, the first woman inducted into the Bridgeton Rotary, and the first woman president of the Cumberland County Board of Vocational Education. Budde is also an inductee in the Cumberland County Women’s Hall of Fame, has served as chair of the South Jersey Hospital Board, and has chaired numerous positions with United Way, March of Dimes, Research Club of Bridgeton and many other organizations. Currently, Budde serves as Director of the Good Sheppard Dining Room Soup Kitchen, which feeds more than 21,000 people in need in the Cumberland County community each year.

Deacon William Johnson was the first African-American ordained as a deacon in the Diocese of Camden and served as deacon in his home parish of St. Teresa of Avila in Bridgeton. Deacon Johnson also served as an advocate and canonical consultant to the tribunal and chair of the former Black Catholic Ministry Board. He was appointed as the first director of the Office for Black Catholic Ministry and later served as chair of the former Racial Justice Committee. Under his leadership and guidance, the Racial Justice Committee embarked on racial justice training for the Diocese and led the efforts of others to become certified in order to continue to provide the training. Deacon Johnson has worked tirelessly to minister to the Black Catholic community in South Jersey.


2013 Awardees

Bishop Joseph A. Galante, D.D., J.C.D. was born in Philadelphia and was ordained in 1964. He attended Lateran University in Rome, where he received his doctorate in canon law, and later the University of St. Thomas (Angelicum) in Rome, where he received his Master’s Degree in Spiritual Theology. He served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia until he was named by Pope John Paul II in December 1986 to be Undersecretary of the Congregation for Religious in Rome. He was a member of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Communications. In October 1992 he was named Auxiliary Bishop of San Antonio, Texas. A year and a half later he was installed as Bishop of Beaumont, Texas. He became Coadjutor Bishop of Dallas in January 2000. On April 30, 2004, Bishop Galante returned to the Philadelphia area and was installed as seventh bishop of the Diocese of Camden.

Soon after his installation in the Diocese of Camden, he hosted 138 “Speak Up Sessions” over 15 months, to obtain feedback directly from parishioners, clergy, religious and others on the ministerial priorities of the diocese. This consultation led to a multi-year planning process that has sought to address pressing challenges while revitalizing parish life in every area of the diocese. To serve the needs of the people of the diocese as expressed in these priorities, the diocese took several ambitious steps. Parishes were reconfigured from 124 parishes to 70. Also deaneries, groupings of parishes that work together in particular regions, were reorganized to be more representative of the diversity of the diocese and to put them into a position to be more collaborative with each other. Also the diocese established a virtual university by reaching agreements with several institutions of higher learning to provide cost effective education in ministry and Church administration.

Bishop Galante retired on January 8, 2013. He remains Bishop Emeritus of the diocese.


2014 Awardees

The New Jersey State Council of the Knights of Columbus is a 64,000-member fraternal service organization composed of over 360 local councils. The State council includes 9,000 Knights and 70 sub-councils in the Diocese of Camden. The Knights’ mission to serve the church, their families, their communities and those in need reflects the vision of their founder, the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney. Father McGivney created the Knights of Columbus over 130 years ago to support its members in their faith; provide support for their families; and direct their charity to the needs of the less fortunate and the Church. His vision is manifested in three principles of the Order – charity, unity and fraternity. It is the practice of these principles, guided by faith in the Eucharist, which drives men to join the Order.

The award was accepted by Andy Lipenta, then state deputy for the New Jersey Knights of Columbus, on behalf of his fellow Knights.

Patricia (Patty) Bivins, Virginia (GG) Brannigan, and Kathryn (Kay) Noble, known collectively as ‘The Troops,’ have served the poor of Atlantic City through Catholic Charities for nearly 30 years each. Their volunteer work has included visiting shut-ins in Atlantic City, acting as liaisons between families and nursing home staff, orchestrating the Christmas toy drive program, and working directly with the homeless through the center’s food pantry and thrift shop.

Gracie’s Thrift Shop, named for former director of the Atlantic City Catholic Charities center and mentor to the three women, Sister Grace Nolan, has been a particular focus of the volunteers. The shop serves men, women and children, selling clothing and household items at highly affordable prices. Since 2000 the shop has generated over $260,000, which is funneled directly back towards the clients the center.


2015 Awardees

The motto of the Camden County Police Department, “Service Before Self,” encapsulates the spirit of the institution we’re honoring with this year’s Justice in ACTION award. Reorganized as a county police force in 2012 under the leadership of Police Chief Scott Thompson, the department has made building up community and serving the people of Camden its top priorities.

Combining an implementation of state of the art technology and a community policing philosophy, in just a few short years the Camden County Police Department has had a huge impact in lowering crime in the city of Camden. Violent crime in the city has fallen by 24 percent, the murder rate has fallen by 47 percent and open-air drug markets have been cut by 65 percent. The response time for 911, which was once one hour, is now five minutes or less. Police officers of all ranks walk a beat to build trust with members of the community.

President Obama visited Camden in May and praised the work of Chief Thomson and the Camden County police Department, upholding its community-based policing methods as a model for the nation. The great strides made by the Camden County Police Department over the last two years in improving public safety by building relationships of trust in the community make them a model institution working for the cause of justice in our community.

As a pastoral associate at the Parish of the Holy Cross in Bridgeton, Sr. Graciela can be found involved in typical parish ministries – small faith -communities, religious education, sacramental prep, liturgical ministry. But in this largely Latino community, she is also an energetic champion for the rights of immigrants and a dedicated, selfless support to Spanish-speaking and immigrant parishioners.

She goes to parishioners’ doctor appointments with them to serve as an interpreter, organizes public actions to educate parishioners and elected leaders about the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform, and encourages parishioners to raise their own voices for justice for immigrants. In March she organized a town meeting with Bridgeton government officials where 500 parishioners packed the church to give voice to the needs of the immigrant community.

Sister Graciela celebrates 50 years of consecrated life this year, the very year that the Church celebrates a Year of Consecrated Life. We honor her lifetime of service in the pursuit of justice with the 2015 Individual Justice in Action award. She insists that this award is not for her but for her entire community: the Missionary Daughters of the Most Pure Virgin Mary.


2016 Awardees

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden’s Justice in Action Awards honor organizations that exemplify the Catholic values of reaching out to the marginalized of society and building a more just community for all. In the Jewish tradition, these same values, expressed in a different way, are enshrined in the mission statement of Jewish Federations across the country in the concepts of tzedakah (charity), chesed (loving-kindness) and tikkun olam (repairing the world).

The Jewish Federations comprise a network of agencies that deliver a wide range of services to the vulnerable. Their programs include services for refugees, the homeless, the elderly and disabled, children and families and victims of Hurricane Sandy. Catholic Charities, which shares a service area with three Jewish Federations, partners often with Federation agencies to deliver social services to those in need in the region.

For their work on behalf of justice in the South Jersey region, Catholic Charities is pleased to award tthe 2016 organizational Justice in ACTION Award to the three Jewish Federations that serve Southern New Jersey: Jewish Federation of Cumberland, Gloucester & Salem Counties; Jewish Federation of Atlantic and Cape May Counties; and Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey (serving Camden, Gloucester and Burlington Counties).

Ricardo Taylor dedicated 42 years of his life to the children of Pennsauken as an educator and later as an administrator in the Pennsauken School District and a member of the Pennsauken Township Board of Education. He served nine terms as Mayor of Pennsauken and continues as a member of the Delaware River Port Authority Board of Commissioners. In his many posts of public service, he has been a tireless advocate for his community.

His contributions to the Diocese of Camden include positions of leadership at his parish, St. Stephen in Pennsauken; membership in the Knights of Columbus fraternal service organization; and active participation in the Diocese’s Office of Black Catholic Ministry.

“I humbly accept this award in gratitude that my livelihood and my religious life have allowed me to give something back to my community,” Taylor said. “As an elected official I always believed that you have both civil and moral obligations and you can’t do one without the other. You have to do what you do for the good of the people.”

“In his years of public service, Mr. Taylor put into concrete practice the principals of Catholic Social Teaching that for too many of us remain in the domain of church pews and Sunday mornings,” said Kevin Hickey. “Throughout his career, he has worked to uncover the roots of injustice and proposed initiatives to make social, political and economic structures more just. He is a model for all those who seek to put justice into action.”