Jesuit Wins $1 Million Opus Prize

Great news for a wonderful Jesuit priest working in Ecuador, from National Jesuit News.

Father John Halligan, founder of theWorking Boys’ Center (WBC) in Quito, Ecuador, was co-recipient of this year’sOpus Prize, one of the largest humanitarian awards that is designed to provide a single infusion of resources to advance humanitarians’ work and bring greater visibility to their causes.  Fr. Halligan will split the $1.1 million award with Sr. Beatrice Chipeta, director of the Lusubilo Orphan Care Project in Malawi, Africa. They were named co-recipients of the million-dollar annual prize on November 11 in a ceremony at Fordham University.

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Fr. Halligan, 80, began the WBC in 1964 in the attic of the centuries-old La Compania Church in the center of Quito, Ecuador. His aim was to provide lunch and spiritual inspiration to a few dozen “shoeshine boys” who worked in the streets to support their families. Forty-six years later, the WBC operates out of three buildings spread throughout Quito and serves more than 2,000 members annually, including whole families. The center offers daycare, primary education, vocational training, special needs services and adult literacy programs to help families be self-sustaining.

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At the ceremony, Fr. Halligan thanked the Jesuits for always keeping the “door open for the lower classes” and said that helped shape the path of his own life. He also encouraged students to become volunteers. “The young volunteers make all the difference in our work, and they return from a life-changing experience in the process,” he said.

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