BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  A virtual week-long celebration is underway at Catholic Charities of Baltimore to honor several individuals for their exemplary service to neighbors in need and one local justice-oriented pastor is among them.

“I try to be cognizant that every human being is utterly unique,” said Father Ray Chase, Msgr. Arthur F. Valenzano Joyful Servant Award Recipient.

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It’s a mantra Father Ray Chase lives by.

“And because of that, every encounter with another person [but to] is an extraordinary opportunity,” Father Chase said.

His faithful labor of love is why he’s being recognized with this year’s Monsignor Arthur F. Valenzano Joyful Servant Award.

“Monsignor art was a Catholic Charities board member. He was a rector of The Basilica. And he saw the dignity in every person and therefore, every person saw the goodness in him,” said Bill McCarthy, Executive Director of Catholic Charities.

“When I was asked if I would accept this award, I said I would only accept it with the understanding it’s more of a challenge to me in terms of what I should seek to do and strive to be in the work that I do here at catholic charities,” said Father Chase.

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Father Chase began his ministry with Catholic Charities of Baltimore nearly 40 years ago.

“Really walks the walk and really ministers to everyone, much like Father Art,” said McCarthy.

“I originally came to this agency because of my deep affection for people with developmental disabilities,” Father Chase explained. “I had this sense that each of these individuals regardless of how significant their disabilities were, that they were God’s children.”

His parish, St. Vincent De Paul is motivated by social and racial justice work, and today, he serves as a chaplain at St. Elizabeth’s Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

The message he wants others to take away from this honor:  “I’m profoundly grateful for this [but to] I want to be really clear, I’m no different than anybody else here. Everybody who is here has this recognition,” Father Chase said.

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Catholic Charities of Baltimore has more than 80 programs in Baltimore City in 200 locations across the state. They serve children and families experiencing homelessness and poverty, immigrants, individuals with intellectual disabilities and seniors.