La Salle University presented one of its highest honors, the Signum Fidei Award, to another organization noted for its service to others: Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States.
Presented by the University’s Alumni Association, the award is given each year to an individual or organization that has made noteworthy contributions to the advancement of humanitarian principles in keeping with Christian-Judeo traditions. The name of the award means “Sign of Faith,” the motto of the Christian Brothers, the order that founded and operates La Salle University.
The Signum Fidei Medal, the Alumni Association’s highest honor, is given to recognize achievements in harmony with the established aims of La Salle University and the objectives of the Brothers of the Christian schools.
In presenting the award, Beth Briglia, Vice President for La Salle’s Alumni Association, said, “We honor Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, and an organization who works are truly the embodiment of Gospel verse Matthew Chapter 25: Verse 40 Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. This statement is central to the works of our recipient and exemplifies the efforts and achievements of the many that make this organization deserved of the Signum Fideii Award,” said Briglia. “We thank you, and on behalf of La Salle University Alumni Association, we are proud to present this organization with the 2012 Signum Fidei Award which recognizes that the achievements of Catholic Relief Services are in harmony with the established aims of La Salle University and the objectives of the Brothers of the Christian schools.”
The award was accepted by Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President, U.S. Operations for CRS.
“On behalf of everyone at Catholic Relief Services, it is a great honor to accept this award,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President, U.S. Operations at CRS. “We share La Salle University’s values of service to the poor and upholding education as the path to a better future. At CRS, we support education with a variety of programs–from Haiti to East Timor; from Burkina Faso to Madagascar. And just as La Salle teaches service to the community in the U.S., we support schools that instill this same value overseas. We salute La Salle University for educating the next generation of people who will become servants to the community, wherever providence may take them.”
Recently, CRS has partnered with La Salle through the Global Justice Forums, Global Solidarity Network, and has trained staff and students for the CRS Ambassador Program. A CRS Ambassador is a liaison between their community and Catholic Relief Services with responsibility for keeping the community informed and involved with the U.S. Catholic Church’s efforts to end poverty in the world.
“CRS is an important component of Catholicism in the U.S.,” said Dr. Margaret McGuinness, chair of La Salle’s Religion Dept. and Director of the University’s Office of Mission Integration. “This collaboration fits with the University’s mission because it’s about Catholic social teaching and the dignity of the human person.”
“The CRS initiative is not just how we can educate,” said McGuiness, “but how we can advocate for change. We’re thrilled that they are working with us.”
The Roman Catholic Bishops of the United States established CRS in 1943 to assist European refugees to recover from World War II. According to CRS’ web site, “Even today, 60 years later, our mission continues to focus on the poor overseas, using the gospel of Jesus Christ as our mandate. We continually seek to help those most in need, providing assistance on the basis of need, without regard to race, creed, or nationality.”
In a similar spirit, on September 29, about 1,100 members of the La Salle University community celebrated the the University’s founding and tradition of helping others by providing a Lasallian Day of Service, volunteering at sites throughout the Philadelphia area, the United States and around the world.
In recent years, La Salle students have contributed more than 50,000 hours of service annually to the local community. “The Lasallian Day of Service provided an opportunity to highlight what La Salle students do on a regular basis and enable the La Salle community to share that gift in a different way. It’s a chance to get the whole community involved,” said Br. Robert Kinzler, F.S.C., Director of University Ministry and Service at La Salle.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has selected La Salle for its Community Engagement Classification, one of only 311 institutions to earn this prestigious recognition.