By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published January 24, 2019
ATLANTA—Breon Haskett is committed to helping young people. He has served as an outreach volunteer with the homeless shelter, Covenant House, by driving the streets of Atlanta to find young people in need of a meal and a safe place to stay.
He attends Transfiguration Church, Marietta, where he has taught high schoolers the faith, managed mission trips to Nicaragua, and served on the parish advisory council.
For his efforts, Haskett received the 2019 Charles O. Prejean Sr. Unity Award Jan. 19 at the MLK Mass. The award is named for the retired director of archdiocesan black Catholic ministry. It particularly recognizes efforts to reach across cultural, ethnic and religious divides, building cooperation within a parish, between parishes and the larger community.
“In a parish of 4,000-plus families, there are very few who don’t know Breon, which speaks of his tireless hours of dedication to the life of our parish. We at Transfiguration know that his dedication, commitment, excellence and witness have blessed us, as well as the Archdiocese of Atlanta, neighboring counties and Nicaragua,” said the nomination by the church’s pastor, Father Fernando Molina-Restrepo.
What is your connection to Transfiguration Church? How are you involved with the church?
I am a longtime parishioner of Transfiguration, since 2002. I was on staff as the parish youth minister for two years and currently serve as a volunteer catechist for 11th grade and mission trip coordinator for all outside the country mission trips.
Service and leadership are intertwined with your faith life. What do you enjoy about it?
I spent 25 years in the Marines and am naturally attracted to leadership roles. I truly enjoy helping new leaders to find their voice and confidence so they too can contribute to the work of the church.
What motivated to you work on the streets of Atlanta with the Covenant House to serve young people? What could the church do better to be attentive to them?
I benefited as a youth from volunteer leaders spending time mentoring and coaching me and I see my work as both a necessity and a way to show the same type of commitment I benefited from.
The universal church has always been in the business of working with those in need. While we haven’t stepped completely away from this mission, an intentional effort in outreach and showing God’s love toward the most vulnerable (homeless youth) is needed.
How else does Catholicism impact your life?
I attempt to “be Church” whenever I can. Simply, I think the message of Catholicism is to share the love that we receive at the altar through what we do and what we commit ourselves to.
What is a message of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King that influences you and shapes your priorities?
Dr. King taught about what he called the triple evils: poverty, racism and militarism. He suggested that when resources (time, talent and treasures) are available they should be used to raise people from the pain of poverty which includes homelessness.