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 CNS Story:

ROSENHAUER Feb-23-2009 (830 words) With photos. xxxn

USCCB official receives award from diocesan social action directors

By Mark Pattison
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Joan Rosenhauer, associate director of the U.S. bishops' Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, received the Harry A. Fagan Award Feb. 21 from the Roundtable Association of Diocesan Social Action Directors.

Roundtable members chose Rosenhauer for the award last June.

The eight-month lag between choosing the winner and conferring the honor is typical, Rosenhauer said in a Feb. 18 telephone interview with Catholic News Service.

The association holds its annual meeting in June, and selecting an honoree is part of the meeting's agenda. But the award is always conferred during its "wraparound" meeting held prior to the annual Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington; the association is one of the gathering's 18 organizational co-sponsors.

Named for the late Harry A. Fagan, the longtime Cleveland diocesan social action director, co-founder of the National Pastoral Life Center and the association's first secretary, the award honors individuals who have made unique contributions to achieving the Catholic vision of social justice.

Rosenhauer is on her third tour of duty for the bishops' conference.

The first time she was hired -- after eight years of community organizing work -- she worked for what is now the Catholic Campaign for Human Development as a field representative for dioceses in the mid-Atlantic for a couple of years in the late 1980s.

After a couple of years away, she returned to the conference to work as a special projects coordinator in the bishops' Department of Social Development and World Peace, the precursor to the current Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development.

Rosenhauer again took a brief hiatus before returning to the department in 1995, serving in various capacities before being placed in her current position as associate director in 2008, leading the education and outreach staff.

"Throughout all those jobs, a centerpiece of my job was to work with social action directors and help advance the CCHD, and work with them as they worked with locally funded groups," she said. "I would work with them through the proposal review process. I would also help out with education on poverty."

She serves under the department's executive director, John Carr, who won the award in 1993.

"It's really an honor, and especially since it comes from diocesan social action directors, from their professional association," Rosenhauer said.

"It's always been such an important part of my work, to make sure that my work is supportive of what they're trying to do, and communicate the bishops' teaching," she added. "It's an incredible honor."

For Rosenhauer, the slogan "the toughest job you'll ever love" applies. "It is taxing, but it's also great to work with people and to see the extent to which the Catholic community is always getting more and more committed to the church's social mission and working with various aspects of our social mission," she said.

Another individual honored when Catholic social justice ministers came together in Washington was Jesuit Father John Baumann, a veteran community organizer.

He was recognized by the CCHD for his 36-year career organizing faith communities across the country. The agency presented him with its Sister Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award during the Feb. 22 opening session of the social ministry gathering.

Father Baumann, 70, is the founder and former executive director of People Improving Communities through Organizing Network. He continues with the PICO Network as director of special projects, coordinating the organization's nationwide efforts as well as organizing efforts in Central America and Africa.

Introduced to community organizing in 1967 when his Jesuit superiors sent him as a seminarian to work in Chicago's West Side neighborhoods, Father Baumann has been part of countless campaigns focusing on education reform, neighborhood safety, access to health care and the long-standing home foreclosure crisis.

His work has helped people often pushed to society's margins understand that they have a voice and can ease the social pains they are experiencing.

"To me it's very much related to what the church is all about," Father Baumann told CNS. "It's living out the Gospel values."

Father Baumann was ordained in 1969 and returned to Chicago for three years. In 1972, he was assigned to urban ministry in Oakland, Calif., where he opened the Oakland Training Institute, which helped develop community leaders. Eventually, the organization became the Pacific Institute for Community Organizing as it expanded across California.

Throughout the 1980s PICO's model of organizing evolved to encompass faith communities. The organization's work attracted nationwide attention, expanding to other states, leading PICO to change its name to its current title. Today the network spans 17 states.

Father Baumann credited the people he helped organize for PICO's success.

"We have a principle at PICO that the first revolution is internal," he said. "I really believe that personal development and social change goes hand in hand. Developing people is the key ingredient in everything we do. That's what makes it so sacred."

- - -

Contributing to this story was Dennis Sadowski.


Copyright (c) 2009 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
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