(ZENIT News / Washington, 11.07.2023).- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the anti-poverty program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has named Ms. Ivonn Rivera of the Diocese of San Jose as the recipient of the 2023 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award. Each year, this prestigious award from the CCHD recognizes a young adult who demonstrates leadership in fighting poverty and injustice in the United States through community-based solutions. Ms. Rivera will be honored at a reception on November 14 during the U.S. bishops’ annual Fall Plenary Assembly in Baltimore.
Ms. Rivera is a wife, mother, and community leader in San Jose. As a member of her parish’s organizing team with Silicon Valley Sponsoring Committee (SVSC), which receives funding from CCHD, she organizes monthly Misas del barrio, helping to bring the Eucharist to those affected by vandalism, gangs, drugs, and violence. The Masses are paired with listening sessions, which uncover community concerns and identify potential new leaders. Through the parish’s work with SVSC, Ivonn has led efforts to raise community needs with local officials. The grassroots efforts undertaken by SVSC have won victories that benefit the local community, such as stop signs, crosswalks, and repair of streetlights to improve safety. She and her community have also contributed to efforts that have led to large victories, such as eviction protections for renters and assistance for essential workers who had been left out of state and federal relief. Active in her parish, Ivonn’s work is inspired by her faith and a strong belief that all people deserve to live with dignity.
Bishop Timothy C. Senior of Harrisburg and chairman of the USCCB’s Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development said, “Ivonn’s leadership efforts with her parish and in the community are truly a reflection of the Gospel in action and the mission of CCHD. For more than fifty years, CCHD has worked to empower leaders like Ivonn—a mother, an immigrant, and a disciple of Christ—to work with others to address the root causes of poverty.”
The award, bestowed annually, is named for the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who was Archbishop of Chicago from 1982 till his death in 1996. Cardinal Bernardin served as the first general secretary of the predecessor organization of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, from 1968-1972, and as the conference’s third president from 1974-1977. More information about the award is available at: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/cardinal-bernardin-new-leadership-award.cfm.