Catholic Charities USA to Celebrate Mass and Awards in Honor of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan 14, 2011, 09:32 ET from Catholic Charities USA

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Jan. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities USA, one of the largest social service networks in the United States dedicated to the reduction of poverty, joined by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC,  will conduct a Mass awards ceremony honoring the memory of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2nd annual Mass and awards will observe the 26th anniversary of the King holiday and recognize four individuals who inspire others to keep his dream alive. The event will take place Monday, January 17, 2011, at St. Aloysius Church in Washington, DC, in the shadows of the U.S. Capitol at 10 am.


Rev. Larry Snyder, president and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, will present the Keep the Dream Alive Award to Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships; Marguerite Harmon, CEO of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona; and Maria Odom, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.  Mr. Edward Orzechowski, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, will present the Faith Does Justice Award to Jean M. Hale. Most Reverend Leonard J. Olivier, SVD, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, will preside, and Rev. Patrick A. Smith, pastor of St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church in Washington, DC, will preach the homily.  

"We join the nation in honoring The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a great champion of the struggle to reduce poverty. We will present this award annually to national figures who inspire the nation to keep the dream alive and call others to stand in solidarity with the poor, the marginalized, and those suffering the devastation of racism," said Fr. Snyder.

Award Recipients:

Joshua DuBois is executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In this capacity, DuBois helps to direct the Obama Administration's engagement of faith-based and other nonprofit organizations. One of President Obama's longest serving aides, he previously served as director of religious affairs for the Obama for America campaign, as well as for the Presidential Inauguration Committee. Prior to his involvement with the Obama campaign, DuBois was a legislative aide to then-Senator Obama. He was also an associate pastor at a small church in Cambridge, MA, and received a master's degree in public affairs from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School and a bachelor's degree from Boston University.

Marguerite "Peg" Harmon has served as CEO of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona (CCS) in Tucson since 1999. Prior to that, she worked within the CCS organization, first as a program director and eventually as executive director of a large agency serving people with disabilities. Harmon has been a dedicated advocate for the people CCS serves: low-income individuals and families, immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, domestic violence victims, and others. Currently, she serves on the national board of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., the Governor's Arizona Serves Commission, the Regional Council of Arizona First Things First. Harmon earned a master's degree in rehabilitation from the University of Arizona and a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a dual major in sociology and psychology.

Maria Odom is the executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc (CLINIC). She joined CLINIC after a long career in immigration legal services, working first in the U.S. Justice Department and then in private practice for many years. She is an experienced and dedicated immigration attorney, having represented a myriad of immigrants, from asylum seekers, detained individuals, religious workers, juveniles, victims of domestic violence, and corporations seeking to bring and keep talented and essential workers in the U.S. She has worked tirelessly to keep immigrants and their families together as well as to reunify those who have suffered the consequences of deportation and stricter immigration laws. She earned a law degree from Mercer University and a bachelor's degree in criminology from Florida State University.

Jean Hale is a long-time member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church.  In 1990, Ms. Hale became the first coordinator of the very first SHARE host site in Washington, DC. For 20 years, she managed the host site and a large, diverse team of 30-50 dedicated volunteers, which in turn provided high-quality, low-cost groceries to over 300 families monthly. Mrs. Hale's other accomplishments include volunteering at Our Lady Queen of Peace school, volunteering for Meals on Wheels in her neighborhood, acting as treasurer on the board of the Southeast Crisis Pregnancy Center, volunteering on the Visit the Sick Committee at her parish, as well as serving as the Finance chairperson for her parish. She and her husband of more than 60 years have seven children, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.  

Catholic Charities USA's Keep the Dream Alive Mass and Awards were first presented in 2010, celebrating The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his lifelong advocacy for social justice. As part of its work to reduce poverty in America, Catholic Charities USA is committed to eradicating poverty and racism, overlapping threats to the common good.

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Catholic Charities USA's members provide help and create hope for more than 9 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds. For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing. In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrated its centennial anniversary. For more information,

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