WASHINGTON, DC (November 10, 1999) -- Christina Dague of Enfield, CT, a senior at Trinity College of Vermont, has been named the second recipient of the Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award, presented annually to recognize leadership and commitment to social justice among young adults between the ages of 18 and 30, who embody the spirit of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his leadership in building bridges across ethnic, class and age barriers.
The Award is presented by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the Catholic Church's national program to fight poverty in the U.S., which provides funding to community-based projects that attack the root causes of poverty in an effort to break its cycle. This year, CCHD provided $10 million in grants to 306 projects, money that is raised in parish collections across the country.
The three finalists for the award, who have shown significant leadership in working against poverty and for social justice, are: Lupe Gonzalez, St. Vincent Parish, Los Angeles; Avelina Martinez, Sangre de Cristo Parish, San Luis, Colorado; and Heydi Quezada, St. Mary's Parish, Jersey City, NJ.
"The Bernardin Award recognizes the next generation of leadership in the fight against poverty and injustice," said Father Robert J. Vitillo, CCHD executive director. "We want to honor young people and their families, their colleges and parishes, for their commitment to the gospel for the poor. Naming the award for Cardinal Bernardin speaks to his leadership for the poor in the U.S., the young age at which he started his ministry, and his support for CCHD." The award will be presented Sunday, November 14, the third anniversary of the Cardinal's death, during the annual meeting of the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
For the past two years, Ms. Dague has been instrumental in planning Trinity's Alternative Spring Break. As co-coordinator for Spring Break 1998, she took an active role in fundraising, training and preparations for three Spring Break sites, and was co-site leader in Washington, D.C. At that site, she and 13 other students spent a week working in a soup kitchen, meeting with representatives of Bread for the World to learn about advocacy and lobbying in social justice issues, and met with Vermont legislators to discuss hunger and homelessness.
She also served as co-coordinator for Spring Break 1999 with responsibilities for four sites, and served as co-site leader for a group of 14 students who spent their Spring Break in West Virginia. At that site, the students spent a week organizing a warehouse for a community group that provided home improvement materials at 10 percent of the cost to low-income residents. While there, the students also worked with children in the community's schools and youth programs. In addition, Ms. Dague is a founding member of the S.O.S. Club (Spirituality, Outreach, and Social Justice) at Trinity College and a member of Project GIVE (Growing in Volunteer Efforts) on campus.
Ms. Dague is pursuing a double major in Religious Studies and U.S.-Latin American Comparative Cultural Studies. She is currently spending a service and study semester in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she is also working to perfect her Spanish language skills.
She is the daughter of Carolyn and Dayton Dague, parishioners at Holy Family Church in Enfield, CT.
Joseph Cardinal Bernardin (1928-1996) was ordained a bishop while still in his thirties. He was the first bishop named General Secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/U.S. Catholic Conference and in this role nurtured the vision of CCHD and helped shepherd it through its early years. He remained a strong supporter of CCHD while Archbishop of Cincinnati and Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago.
For additional information, contact Barbara Stephenson, CCHD, (202) 541-3364, email@example.com.