HARTFORD — The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) of the Archdiocese of Hartford will recognize its former executive director, St. Patrick’s Church in Enfield, and Saint Thomas More Chapel and Center at Yale University for their commitment to justice and care for the poor. They will be honored with the Most Reverend Joseph F. Donnelly Memorial Award, and the new Dr. Charlie Schlegel Award at the 43rd Annual Social Justice Dinner on October 18 at 6 p.m. at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville.
Frederick J. Perella has spent most of his life as a passionate advocate in the area of social justice. As the former executive director of OCSJM (formerly called the Office of Urban Affairs), he was instrumental in the formation of grassroots organizations such as the Naugatuck Valley Project (NVP) and Elm City Congregations Organized (ECCO), empowering residents to become proactive in their neighborhoods to overcome housing, employment, and social challenges.
Thomas More Chapel and Center at Yale University will be recognized for its efforts over the last 25 years in organizing student involvement in key justice issues such as the death penalty, torture, environmental justice and immigration rights. Recently, the Center sponsored mission trips to New Orleans and Peru, and locally in New Haven it provides meals to nearly 300 people weekly.
A new award this year, the Dr. Charlie Schlegel Award, in honor of a man who was one of the founding members of the Cooperative Parish Sharing Committee, will be presented to St. Patrick Church in Enfield for their Hispanic Outreach program. The program ministers to the needs of migrant workers who come to the Enfield area to work in the tobacco fields during the spring and summer months. Weekly Masses are offered to the workers, as well as a nutritious meal, bibles, rosaries, toiletries, clothing and sacramental preparation if desired. In 2010, ten workers received the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Archbishop Henry J. Mansell will attend the dinner to honor the recipients, and Dr. Mary DeLorey, a strategic issues advisor from Catholic Relief Services, will speak about human rights and human trafficking .