St. Thomas community invited to luncheons with Opus Prize finalists

University of St. Thomas students, staff and faculty are invited to attend one of three luncheons that will held Thursday, Nov. 5, for the three finalists of the Opus Prize that will be awarded Wednesday, Nov. 4, at Orchestra Hall.

The luncheons are being held to give members of the St. Thomas community the opportunity to meet and visit with the finalists who were selected because of their faith-based, humanitarian work.

The finalists are Aïcha Ech Channa, who provides services for unmarried women and their children in Casablanca, Morocco; Sister Valeriana García-Martín, who cares for disabled children in Bogotá, Colombia; and Father Hans Stapel of Guaratinguetá, Brazil, who operates more than 60 communities for people with drug and alcohol addictions.

One of them will receive a $1 million award from the Opus Foundation and two will receive $100,000 awards. (Details about the Opus Prize program, including information on how to receive free tickets for the Nov. 4 program at Orchestra Hall, can be found at this Opus Prize Web site.)

The luncheons will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15. The luncheon for Ech Channa will be held on the Minneapolis campus and the luncheons for García-Martín and Stapel will be held on the St. Paul campus.

The luncheons are free but space is limited to about 50 guests and reservations are required. To make a reservation, send an e-mail to Mary Kay O'Rourke at or call (651) 962- 5705 by Friday, Oct. 9, and indicate which luncheon you would like to attend.