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Local ‘Champions’ to be honored at Catholic Charities’ Dinner

October 03, 2019

SOMERSET – Two individuals will receive awards for their work on behalf of those in need, on Oct. 17 at the 2019 Champions for Catholic Charities Dinner to be held at the Palace in Somerset Park, Somerset.

People from around the four-county Diocese of Metuchen are expected to attend the dinner, which benefits the work of Catholic Charities in the diocese, while also honoring the work and service of local leaders who advocate for justice and, by their example, call others to do the same. For tickets, please visit https://diometuchen.org/champions.

This year’s honorees are Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Esq., and Msgr. Joseph M. Curry. They will receive the 2019 Champions Award in recognition of their selfless commitment and dedication to the betterment of all people – especially the poor and vulnerable – through works of charity, advocacy and service. 

“The generosity and charity exemplified by these individuals, in their work and in their service, is a tangible way that Christ’s love is made known and present to us,” said Bishop James F. Checchio. “We are each called to follow Christ and to reach out to all in need of His mercy, and so I am grateful for our Champions, for their leadership and their efforts to make Christ’s love known to all those in need.” 

Msgr. Curry, who was recently appointed as the parochial vicar at St. Matthias Parish, Somerset, has served on the Catholic Charities Solidarity Team, which works to reduce the injustice and suffering faced by the poor and vulnerable, both overseas and in the Diocese of Metuchen. As part of his ministry, he established support groups for those impacted by the opioid crisis and did extensive work for international missions and Catholic Relief Services. He is the pastor emeritus of Immaculate Conception Parish, Spotswood, where he served for nearly 14 years, and has been an instrumental part of many pastoral and administrative committees over the years.  

Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Esq., a parishioner at St. Joseph Parish, Raritan, has dedicated his personal and professional life to supporting vital programs and services, and advocating for social justice efforts to aid those in need. Chiesa, who has served as a U.S. Senator, New Jersey State Attorney General, is presently a member of the law firm Chiesa, Shahinian, Giantomasi, PC. In his career, he led New Jersey’s public safety efforts following Superstorm Sandy, created safeguards to address prescription drug use, combated human traffickers and prosecuted violators. Among his many accomplishments to protect the vulnerable, Chiesa, most notably, prosecuted a multimillion-dollar Medicaid fraud case during his tenure in the Criminal Division at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to honoring its two Champions, this year Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen will also honor individuals with the Spirit of Saint Francis Award. The recipients of the award, who will be announced at the Dinner, were chosen for having carried out the virtue of charity by encouraging a sense of community among the forces that shape society and for their proven ability to promote a sense of Catholic social teaching in the wider community.

“Through their charity, the recipients of the Spirit of Saint Francis Award are witnesses to Christ the Servant, just as we know Saint Francis of Assisi to be, and their work inspires us and continues to give us hope,” said Bishop Checchio.

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen is one of the largest non-profit social service agencies in the state of New Jersey, assisting all those in need regardless of race, religion or ethnicity through more than 100 programs.

Tickets for the Champions for Catholic Charities Dinner are $250 per person and include a cocktail hour, full-course dinner and open bar. For reservations or to make a donation of any amount, go to https://diometuchen.org/champions or call 732-562-2432.

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