President of Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Campaign for Human Development Receive Prestigious Monsignor Higgins Labor Advocacy Awards

September 12, 2005

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, will present this year’s Monsignor George G. Higgins Labor Advocacy Awards to Mr. Ken Hackett, president of Catholic Relief Services, and to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for their faithfulness to the Catholic Church’s teachings on economic and social justice, particularly promoting the dignity of work and workers’ rights:
Saturday, September 17, 2005
5:15 p.m. Mass / awards presented at approx. 6:15 p.m.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
400 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington, DC

Presented each year by the Archdiocese of Washington, the awards honor one individual and one organization whose work and principles reflect the values and vision of Msgr. Higgins, an international leader on workers’ rights for over 50 years until his death in 2002.

Ken Hackett has dedicated his entire career to assisting the poor and disenfranchised. Thirty years ago, he joined Catholic Relief Services (CRS) as a program director in Sierra Leone, eventually becoming president and CEO. Under his guidance, CRS has become one of the world’s most effective and efficient humanitarian aid and relief organizations, with 4,000 staff in 90 nations. An example of Ken Hackett’s commitment to service came earlier this year when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia. Within days, Mr. Hackett was on the ground in Sri Lanka, surveying the damage and committing CRS to long-term recovery in that region. In fact, within three months, CRS committed $150 million for this effort.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), a program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, focuses on addressing the root causes of poverty and encouraging participation by the poor in decision-making so they may move beyond poverty. Since 1969, CCHD has provided $270 million in grants for more than 4,000 projects developed by low-income community groups. The funds are raised through an annual collection, held in parishes throughout the United States; 75 percent of the donations are distributed to organizations by the CCHD and 25 percent, by local dioceses.

Msgr. Higgins assisted the U.S. bishops on social action issues from 1944-1980, then served as a lecturer on labor and social ethics at The Catholic University of America for 20 years. He was instrumental in the early days of the United Farm Workers; a liaison between the Polish union, Solidarity, and U.S. unions in the 1980s; and chair of the United Auto Workers’ Public Review Board, 1946-2000.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]