The Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation (PBMR) established the Kinship Award in 2014 to recognize community contributions and/or social justice efforts that have strengthened the Precious Blood Center’s mission of providing hope, healing, and hospitality to at-risk youth in the Back of the Yards and New City neighborhoods of Chicago. The award consists of artwork created by youth or an instructor in the Precious Blood Center’s programs. The award is presented in the spring at PBMR’s fundraising luncheon.
2015 Recipient: St. John of the Cross Parish
St. John of the Cross Parish, a Catholic faith community in suburban Western Springs, IL, is the 2015 recipient of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation’s Kinship Award. Through the pastoral leadership of Father David Dowdle, St. John of the Cross has generously contributed resources to fortify hope, healing and hospitality at the Precious Blood Center. For several years, the parish has pitched in to provide substantial financial support along with donations of clothing, school supplies, kitchen utensils, and food. The plants around the center’s Community Vegetable Garden and Peace Flower Garden, the patio cement for the outdoor gathering space, and the lighting for the new project space—Art on 51st—are courtesy of St. John of the Cross. Parishioners not only attend Precious Blood Center’s fundraisers, they share their talent and expertise on its Fundraiser Committee. Even young parishioners have reached out: the seventh grade confirmation class wrote reflections on poetry created by incarcerated youth. Their reflections were then sent to the incarcerated authors. In addition, St. John’s Vacation Bible School is a customer of PBMR’s fledgling t-shirt silk-screening operation, which provides at-risk youths with a job opportunity.
2014 Recipients: The Home Depot and Anthony Suárez-Abraham
The Home Depot is a 2014 recipient of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation’s Kinship Award. The Home Depot invested in the community when it built a store several years ago at 4555 S. Western Boulevard, Chicago. In addition to being a neighborhood presence, the Home Depot has generously shared resources to support the Precious Blood Center’s efforts in beautifying its grounds to fortify hope, healing and hospitality. The shrubbery and plants around the Healing Garden and the outdoor Peacemaking Circle as well as the tool shed and plants for the Community Garden in the northeast yard were all accomplished with the help of the Home Depot. The Community Garden has fed dozens of families with the harvest, the Healing Garden has provided solace, and the Peacemaking Circle has been an important community space for conflict resolution and accompaniment of those seeking healing.
Anthony Suárez-Abraham is a 2014 recipient of the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation’s Kinship Award. Suárez-Abraham is a theology instructor at Dominican University and the former director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Peace and Justice. A longtime advocate of clemency toward juvenile offenders, he was instrumental in getting the Catholic Conference of Illinois in August 2013 to join in an amicus brief in a case before the Illinois Supreme Court calling for retroactive review of mandatory life sentences without parole for juveniles. In September 2011, he urged Cardinal George to write a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn asking him to commute the sentence of a juvenile offender who has spent more than two decades behind bars, has accepted responsibility for his actions, attained his General Education Diploma, and works with a Catholic priest to counsel and deter at-risk children from criminal activity.