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, one of the final events in its 40 Days of Francis countdown.
“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 percent 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.
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.
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 through education about the poverty that exists in the region and the ways to help combat it.
The Catholic Charities Justice for All dinner will be held Sept. 17, 5:30-9 p.m., at the Adelphia Grand Ballroom, Deptford. To become an event sponsor: CatholicCharitiesCamden.org/JFA, or call Diocese of Camden Development Office: 856-342-6126.