On Tuesday November 15, 2022 Father Guillermo Trevino received the national 2022 Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) fall meeting in Baltimore, MD.
This is the speech Father Trevino delivered when receiving the award.
“We can’t do this alone, we need help. I am here because of all the people of West Liberty and Columbus Junction, Iowa, who asked for help. They wanted support during the pandemic. I had ten covid funerals during the crisis of the pandemic, which is a lot for small-town Iowa.
Escucha Mi Voz started during the pandemic from Quad City Interfaith, which gets funding from CCHD and the Catholic Worker House in Iowa City. Through Escucha Mi Voz we were able to get pandemic help to many in Iowa. Millions were given in pandemic relief thru Escucha Mi Voz, two core teams were formed at my parishes, and we continue to work for them. The people are now empowered to continue the fight for their dignity thru the support that has been given and will continue to be given.
Cardinal Bernardin was big on empowering people, especially the youth. I try my best to emulate that model and will continue to do so. The youth are not just the future but the now. They have wonderful ideas; we just need to listen to them. The same for the people we work for. No matter where we are in this country, we need to listen to the people. One of the best pieces of advice, I ever received is “get over yourself” While I have a long way to go, it is a constant reminder to keep at it and to listen to the needs of the community. This is how I became involved in this work for the community by listening to the people. It has impacted me because the people are doing amazing things on their own. They are coming to mass, meeting, organizing, and as St. Theresa of Avila would say putting the world on fire. The light continues to shine on the people of God in Iowa.
Former CCHD executive director, Father Marv Mottet, was a huge inspiration to me. He was in my priest support group and would always advise me on things. Write down your homilies, so they don’t get misquoted. When 400 immigrant workers were detained in the Postville raid, I was a reporter and was inspired by his work, trying to help. Though he didn’t speak Spanish, he would do Spanish masses to help his good friend, Father O’Melia while the pastor was sick. CCHD continues this good work to this day, and the Diocese of Davenport, Iowa is very proud of the work Father Mottet has done for this organization and the work the Diocese continues to do. CCHD mission has always been to assist low income communities and address the root causes of poverty. It is my honor to receive this award, and I want to encourage everyone to support the mission.
My faith is what keeps me going. I was asked what my scripture verse in the context of the mission of CCHD, “Faith without works is dead!” I want to share with the leadership of the church to trust the people. I promised obedience to my bishop and his successors. It was very difficult to move from the Quad Cities where I grew up for 29 years and even had my first assignment in Davenport, Iowa, where I was raised. 4 years ago, Bishop Zinkula asked me to move to West Liberty, Iowa, a small town where the minority Latino community is the majority. A year ago, I was made pastor of West Liberty and Columbus Junction, another small town with similar characteristics. Without trusting my bishop, I would not be here today. This goes both ways, and I challenge you bishops to trust the people in telling us what they need and responding to their needs. Know of my prayers for you, and please pray for me. Thank you”
Thank you Father Trevino for your leadership and your commitment to the immigrant community.