BLOOMFIELD – An office of the Archdiocese of Hartford will present awards for exceptional efforts in social justice ministry at its annual dinner on Oct. 18 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville.
The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) dinner will begin with a reception at 5 p.m.
This year, OCSJM will honor Father Stephen Sledesky with the Most Reverend Joseph P. Donnelly Individual Award for his steadfast efforts and commitment to social justice. Father Sledesky was pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Manchester for six years and was pastor of St. Bridget and St. Bartholomew parishes in Manchester for another six years. He now is pastor at St. George Parish in Guilford.
Father Sledesky was an avid supporter of St. Bridget’s engagement in the JustFaith program, participating in the program himself for one year. The program provides a small-group process for Christians to deepen their commitment to care for vulnerable people and the planet.
He not only encouraged the continued mission of the parish’s “Brake the Cycle of Poverty” team in 2004 but also cycled with the team for a week each summer, across the state, engaging communities to discuss the prevalence of poverty in Connecticut. Father Sledesky is known for his preaching on the spirituality of social justice.
The Collaborative Center for Justice will receive the Organization Award for its work toward systematic change that makes a difference in the lives of people who are poor and alienated. The center comprises six congregations of women religious, representing more than 1,000 women religious, associates, co-workers and friends. By educating women religious and others to act through prayer and advocacy regarding issues of injustice, the sisters have addressed concerns such as the death penalty, housing, human trafficking and poverty.
The Dr. Charlie Schlegel Award for Cooperative Parish Sharing will be presented to St. Louis Church in West Haven for its Hispanic Community Projects initiative, which has helped parishioners improve their skills through adult continuing education, computer training and English as a second language classes. The guest speaker will be Kerry Weber, a Mercy Associate and managing editor of America magazine. She is an alumna of the Mercy Volunteer Corps and of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is the author of Keeping the Faith: Prayers for College Students and Mercy in the City: How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job.
Tickets are available at 860-242-5573 or catholicsocialjustice.org. Tickets are $70, or $650 for a table of 10.