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DePaul University awards annual Berrigan-McAlister Award to Los Angeles Catholic Worker

Organization has served LA community for more than 50 years

​​CHICAGO — DePaul University has named the Los Angeles Catholic Worker as the 2024 recipient of the Berrigan-McAlister Award. Created in 2021, the award honors individuals or organizations whose acts of Christian nonviolence — like those practiced by the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., Phillip Berrigan and Elizabeth McAlister — resist injustice, transform conflict, foster reconciliation, and seek justice and peace for all. An event will be held online and in-person May 13.

The Los Angeles Catholic Worker is part of the worldwide Catholic Worker movement. For more than 50 years, the LACW has provided food, shelter, and support to poor and homeless individuals in Los Angeles. It also engages in nonviolent campaigns and civil disobedience focusing on issues ranging from local injustices and racism to war, militarism, climate destruction and anti-immigrant policies. The LACW publishes The Catholic Agitator, a bimonthly newspaper that provides news, commentary, reviews and updates.

“Like the Berrigans, the Los Angeles Catholic Worker community has been a force for gospel nonviolence and prophetic witness for the long haul,” said Michael L. Budde, chair of the Berrigan-McAlister Award committee and professor of Catholic Studies and Political Science at DePaul. “After 50 years, the LACW is still serving the poor and fighting against oppressive structures at home and abroad,” said Budde, senior research professor in the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology​.

The awards ceremony will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. May 13 in Room 314AB at the DePaul Student Center on the university’s Lincoln Park Campus. More information is available online.

Accepting the award on behalf of organization will be Jeff Dietrich, one of the co-founders of LACW who has spent more than 50 years living and advocating with marginalized people in Southern California and working for peace. He is the author of several books, including “Reluctant Resister,” which enjoyed a 40th anniversary reissue in 2023. As part of the award ceremony, Dietrich will talk about the vision and work of the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and engage in conversation with event attendees.

About the Berrigan-McAlister Award

Founded at DePaul, the Berrigan-McAlister Award is given to a person or organization that exemplifies the practice of active Christian nonviolence. Such nonviolence is rooted in the life of Jesus, who combined the refusal of violence in violent situations with the power of universal love. The award was created to honor those whose commitment to “gospel nonviolence” resists injustice, transforms conflict, fosters reconciliation, and seeks justice and peace for all. It is named after Daniel Berrigan, S.J., his brother Philip, and Philip’s wife Elizabeth McAlister.

From the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War, through the movement against nuclear weapons and beyond, few Catholics in the United States have been more influential than the Berrigan brothers and McAlister (McAlister married Philip Berrigan and was his lifelong collaborator). Their work against war and in support of peace — a life of provocative nonviolent protest, extensive writing and teaching, and everyday experiments in intentional community — has earned them international stature in the Catholic Church and secular society.

Previous winners of the Berrigan-McAlister Award are the Kings Bay Plowshares 7, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation and Elizabeth Kanini Kimau.

DePaul Special Collections and Archives holds a portion of Berrigan-McAlister papers, which are available for students and scholars to use. Daniel Berrigan’s are available here, while Phillip and Elizabeth’s are available here​.


Media Contact:
Russell Dorn