Written by Mary McCusker
This year, Cardinal Joseph Tobin, C.Ss.R, of Newark, N.J., will be honored at Catholic Charities’ 14th annual Justice for All awards dinner, to be held in Atlantic City on Oct. 11.
Through this annual event, Catholic Charities recognizes individuals and organizations who, by their actions, demonstrate extraordinary commitment to building a just society and serving the needs of the poor.
Cardinal Tobin receives this award because of his leadership and defense of immigrants and refugees, as well as his call for all hearts to be enkindled so as to protect access to health care, promote educational and employment opportunities, and protect vulnerable adults on the margins of our communities.
He will be recognized with the Saint John Neumann Award – an award bestowed upon individuals who summon Catholics and all people of goodwill to proclaim the message and path of Jesus and Saint John Neumann, who were both close to the sick, championed the poor, befriended sinners, and are a beacon for all immigrants.
Cardinal Tobin is a native of Michigan, the oldest of 13 children, and a member of the Redemptorist order. He is well known for being a proponent and protector of the rights and dignity of those who are most in need of protection – especially immigrants and refugees.
In November 2016, Pope Francis named Cardinal Tobin to serve as the sixth Archbishop of Newark. In assuming this post, he shepherds one of the most diverse regions of the country. It’s a role for which he was well prepared.
He has traveled extensively in developing nations, and speaks English, Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese, as well as reads other languages. Sharing in the same pastoral vision as Pope Francis, Cardinal Tobin serves the poor with humility and is a fierce advocate for human rights. He promotes multicultural outreach and a greater role for women in the church.
“Cardinal Tobin is the kind of leader who can help the church in the United States grow in mercy, ecumenism and magnanimity,” said Kevin Hickey, executive director of Catholic Charities.
Cardinal Tobin’s defense of immigrants and refugees is renowned.
“What keeps despots and dictators awake at night, what topples evil empires is the little person who goes into the square in the middle of town in the dark of the night and scrawls on the wall, ‘No,’ and I want to say to you, we are the ‘No’ that God scrolls on the wall,” Cardinal Tobin once said in explaining his bold position on refugees. “We are the ‘No’ to a nation who is heartless, who would deport people, separating them from their families and their loved ones simply because they are victims of a broken system.”
The Justice for All awards dinner has a dual purpose — honoring the extraordinary service performed by the individuals receiving Justice in Action awards, and raising funds that allow Catholic Charities to provide direct assistance to those it serves throughout the Diocese of Camden.
Each year, with the funds raised by the dinner, Catholic Charities serves more than 33,000 individuals and families within the six southern New Jersey counties that make up the Diocese of Camden. Since its inception in 2004, the annual event has raised more than $800,000.
Every dollar is used for direct services. The funding helps those struggling with addiction, and with housing and food emergencies. Health education and nutrition programs, especially in rural areas, promote healthy living. A prison ministry prepares those reentering society and reentering the lives of their families. Financial counseling services, employment support and English language classes enable clients to develop vital skills to secure good jobs. Refugees and veterans in need are a special focus.
“When people lead stable, dignified, self-sufficient lives, families are strengthened and communities flourish,” noted Hickey. “That’s what Catholic Charities is all about, and that’s what this important fundraiser supports.”
In addition to honoring Cardinal Tobin, a group of “Disciples of Mercy” will be recognized at the dinner as well. Begun during last year’s Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Disciples of Mercy awards recognize an individual or small ministry group in each deanery who exemplifies their Catholic identity and its mission of mercy to alleviate poverty or benefit the marginalized in South Jersey. These efforts may be through a parish-specific project or in collaboration with a local, national, or global social service/humanitarian agency.
Nominations for this award can be made on-line at: http://catholiccharitiescamden.org/disciples-of-mercy/
The Justice for All awards dinner will be held at Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. For more information about the event, visit: www.CatholicCharitiesCamden.org/JFA2017
Read in Catholic Star Herald