LEFT: Joseph Hubbard, shown here with a nursing home resident, was often referred to as “Reverend Hubbard,” even though he was not ordained.
RIGHT: Hubbard walking through a neighborhood in East St. Louis.
"God Lets Things Happen to Cities"
Joseph P. Hubbard was recognized for his work as coordinator of the Diocese of Belleville’s Catholic Urban Programs, which served the poor in East St. Louis, Illinois, a place of high unemployment and poverty that was described at the time as the “most distressed small city in America.” Even though he was not ordained, many referred to him as “Reverend Hubbard” because of his tireless dedication to the sick, dying and marginalized.
One of his co-workers in the program said, “In one day’s time, Joe will fill ten food orders, provide bus fare for a transient, help find housing for an unwed mother and a family who have been burned out or evicted. He will help an elderly person make pre-funeral arrangements, move someone’s furniture to a new home and visit a lonely gentleman in a nursing home.” Said Hubbard, “I think many times God lets things happen to cities to make us realize we shouldn’t emphasize worldly things instead of the love of people.”