Creighton University to host Opus Prize presentation
Musicians and dancers from Creighton University will contribute inspiring music as the Omaha school helps present a $1 million Opus Prize for faith-based humanitarian work.
The prize will be given to one of three finalists Nov. 17 at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha.
Awarded by the Minneapolis-based Opus Prize Foundation, the award is one of the world’s largest for faith-based nonprofit organizations. Each year, the foundation partners with a Catholic university to search the globe for faith-filled, innovative efforts to address social problems.
The 7 p.m. ceremony, which is free, will include the Creighton Symphonic Orchestra, directed by music professor and music coordinator Frederick Hanna, and the university’s Chamber Choir, conducted by associate professor Barron Breland.
Designed to fit with this year’s theme for the Opus Prize: "Restoring Hope, Lighting the Way Home," selections will include "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" and "Poor Wayfaring Stranger."
Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson, Creighton University president, said the community was honored and humbled to host the Opus Prize and the three finalists "whose work has shone so much light into our world."
"We hope, in turn, that Creighton’s hosting of the award is an inspiration to more people to join in the fight and find ways to help work for justice and peace, be it around the globe or in their own neighborhoods and communities," Father Hendrickson said.
Opus Prize finalists:
• Jesuit Father Peter Balleis, co-founding member of the Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins, which makes online higher education courses available to refugees. Father Balleis also served as international director of the Jesuit Refugee Service from 2007 to 2015.
• Sister Anne Jordan, a member of the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is CEO of Cana Communities Inc., a Sydney, Australia-based organization that provides emergency shelter, meals and other support to people struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
• Sarah Lance, founder and managing director of Sari Bari, which helps women exploited by or vulnerable to sex trafficking in Kolkata, India. Sara Bari employs about 120 women to create blankets, pillow covers, handbags and other items from saris, the traditional garment worn by Indian women.
Creighton students and officials helped pick the winners. Partnering with the Opus foundation, the university first selected officials from educational, nonprofit, humanitarian and religious communities around the world to identify potential candidates. Nominees were submitted and three were chosen as finalists.
The Opus Prize board chooses the $1 million winner, and the two runners-up will be awarded $100,000 each. The money will be used to further the respective organizations’ work.