I had the privilege of attending the Peacemaker of the Year Awards this past Sunday. Sister Marie Lucey, OSF and Father Jacek Orzechowski, OFM accepted the peacemaker award from Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore. Read about Pax Christi: www.paxchristimetrodc.org
Sr. Marie Lucy, OSF is Director of Advocacy and Member Relations for the Franciscan Action Network (FAN). Her responsibilities center on peacemaking, including gun violence prevention and relationships with Muslims, and human rights, including immigration, human trafficking, and refugees. From 2003 until 2011 she was Associate Director for Social Mission with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Before that she served her community, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, as Congregational Minister (President) and Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, Justice & Peace Coordinator, and educator. She has participated in delegations to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Syria, and Lebanon.
My wife and I had the good fortune to serve with Marie on a Peace & Justice Committee in our church community when we lived in Lansdale, PA (near Philadelphia) in the late 1980’s. Marie was the strong leader and force behind our peacemaking initiatives.
Fr. Jacek Orzechowski is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province, currently ministering at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, MD, and a FAN board member. His advocacy and witness cover a similar range of issues. He has led eight Living Stones pilgrimages for the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation and is a tireless advocate for justice, peace and reconciliation in Palestine, as well as immigrants and the environment. The Catholic Bishops of Mexico, in part inspired by his reminder of the example of Jesus Christ, passed a strong statement on forest policy after reading the Franciscan declaration of forest conservation that he authored. Fr. Jacek was awarded a 2004 Steward of the Forest Award.
I’ve gotten to know Jacek through our advocacy efforts with Action in Montgomery (AIM) and the Montgomery Housing Alliance (MHA). Our work is focused on creating and preserving affordable housing, and advocating for increased funding in the County’s Housing Initiative Fund (HIF). Jacek is also a strong advocate for improving the housing conditions in the Northwest Park Apartments in Silver Spring.