Stockton, Calif., immigrant couple named Lumen Christi Award winners

By Catholic News Service
CHICAGO (CNS) — A husband-and-wife team who have ministered to thousands of Latinos affected by urban and migrant poverty in the Diocese of Stockton, Calif., are this year’s recipients of the Lumen Christi Award from Catholic Extension.

Digna and Jose Lopez have spent 20 years mentoring and training youth, young adults, migrants, parish priests and parish volunteers through the Youth and Hispanic Ministries in the diocese.

A video recapping their ministry can be viewed at

From an annual Hispanic Congress for youth and young adults to a diocesan celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Lopezes oversee a ministry that reaches thousands of people each year, said Father Jack Wall, Catholic Extension president.

"Jose and Digna Lopez personify the very essence of our mission," Father Wall said in a statement. "Jose, a farm worker at the age of 15, and Digna, his wife, have journeyed from their immigrant roots and become inspirational leaders of the Youth and Hispanic Ministries in their diocese of Stockton, Calif.

"Grounded in a deep faith which has shaped their lives and their ministry, they have inspired hope and effected real change in the community. Jose and Digna truly embody the ‘loving commitment of solidarity with the poor’ that Pope Francis is calling us all to do in our society and in our world," he said.

Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, who nominated the couple, described the Lopezes as the "light of Christ" present to Latinos throughout the diocese. "We are proud of their work and humbled by their generosity," he said in a statement. "They are most worthy of receiving the Lumen Christi Award."

The Lumen Christi Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated how the power of faith can transform lives and communities. It includes a $50,000 grant.

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