The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) is proud to announce it is the recipient of the prestigious Frédéric Ozanam Award, conferred by St. John’s University, in honor of its commitment to migrants, refugees and newcomers. The Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn and CMS Board Chairman, accepted the honor on behalf of CMS during St. John’s annual Vincentian Convocation, held on October 1 at St. Thomas More Church.
The award is named in honor of the Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, a journalist, professor and public speaker dedicated to faith and sustainable service. Troubled by the poverty he witnessed in early 19th century France, Frédéric organized a discussion club of Catholics, atheist, and agnostics to debate issues of social injustice. After speaking on the Catholic Church’s role in society, a club member asked him, “What do you do besides talk to provide the faith you claim is in you?” Struck by the question, Frédéric was moved to action, dedicating himself to working with the poor and eventually founding the organization now known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
The presentation of the Frédéric Ozanam award to CMS was accompanied by a statement, which reads:
“In recognition of its extraordinary contribution to a unique population of those in need, St. John’s honors The Center for Migration Studies of New York. The Center is an education institute and think tank devoted to the study of international migration, the promotion of understanding between immigrants and receiving communities, and public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees, and newcomers. Established in 1964, it was formally incorporated in 1969 by the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles – Scalabrinians – an international community of priests, nuns and lay people dedicated to serving migrants and refugees. The Center is a member of the Scalabrini International Migration Network and enjoys consultative status at the United Nations. Donald M. Kerwin, Jr. executive director, supports St. John’s mission of service and is a frequent presenter at the Vincentian Center for Church and Society events related to migration issues. Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, said, ‘Charity cannot exist in the hearts of individuals unless they reach out to others.’ His words are given form and substance through the work of the Center and its dedication to those in need. Recognizing the commitment and effectiveness of its work with migrants, refugees, and newcomers, St. John’s University takes special pleasure today in presenting the Frédéric Ozanam Award to the Center for Migration Studies of New York.”
St. John’s University has a distinguished history of and continued commitment to educating and promoting the integration and well-being of immigrants. It has provided substantial support and been a valued partner to CMS for many years. CMS is also humbled by the remarkable work of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul and the Vincentian Center for Church in Society at St. John’s. For all of these reasons, it is particularly honored and grateful to receive this award from St. John’s University.