The Mustard Seed Award recognizes individuals who have nurtured RdC’s mission and who have carried their experience in Ecuador with them as a reflection of a lifelong commitment to a faith that works for justice.
On Sunday October 16, 2022 we inagurated the Rostro de Cristo Mustard Seed Award. We held a Mass of Thanksgiving and a Luncheon Reception which included the Presentation of the Awards to our honorees, Nancy Lukitsh, Paul Saleeb, Pat McTeague, and Sonya Rendón. Watch the event here.
The 2022 Mustard Seed Award Honorees
NANCY LUKITSH – After a distinguished career in financial services, her faith, her desire to serve, and her belief in our mission, led Nancy to become a member of the Board of Rostro de Cristo. Nancy served alongside good friends and soon our need for her expertise caused the Board to elect her as treasurer. After her second visit to Guayaquil, she engaged in other capacities with a dedication and generosity that challenged everyone to be better. At the critical moment when the pandemic closed Ecuador, she guided a team of Board members in the development of a financial strategy that allowed Rostro to survive and look forward to a bright future. Through it all, she led by her own personal and generous support.
PAUL SALEEB - After graduating from the University of Dallas in 1999, Paul joined Rostro de Cristo for a volunteer year. Motivated by his own mature faith and a desire for service to the poor, Paul had a very dynamic year living in the community in Arbolito. A quiet man by nature, his immersion in the margins of the Ecuadorian world was transformative. Upon returning to Texas, Paul attended medical school at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and then completed his residency in internal medicine at Georgetown University Hospital. Before training in infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, he was a volunteer physician in Nairobi, Kenya and the Nuba Mountains, Sudan. He also conducted research in Mali, provided clinical and technical support in Kenya and Tanzania, and served as the resident faculty director in Botswana for two years. Presently, Paul practices medicine in Baltimore and serves on the faculty at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Throughout Paul’s distinguished medical career, he has sought to live out the Mission of Rostro de Cristo.
SONYA RENDÓN-There is that exceptional person who though comfortable with the traditional is equally impelled to the new and creative. Sonya has spent her lifetime committed to living her faith and expressing it in the education and formation of the young. Inspired by the Gospel hope of a new world order based on justice and universal human dignity fueled by love, Sonya and her family, along with her dear colleague, Pat McTeague, founded Nuevo Mundo. As one of the principle and earliest partners of Rostro de Cristo, Sonya readily received our volunteers and served as our principal resource in all matters Ecuadorian. Her joyful spirit, passion for justice and gracious hospitality supported RdC through all our years.
Times of transition often open up occasions to remember: to look back and see with a clarity unavailable in those earlier moments. To recall events, circumstances, people, and moments of Grace is a blessing.
The Board of Directors of Rostro de Cristo (RdC) is choosing to celebrate these blessings by creating the Mustard Seed Award on the occasion when our Founder, Fr. Jim Ronan, steps down as Chair of the Board, as well as completes his service as pastor of St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish.
From its earliest days, RdC has been greatly influenced by the parable of the mustard seed from the Gospel of Matthew:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
As founding chair of the Board of RdC, Fr. Jim Ronan has always placed his trust in God to grow the organization and expand the mission. From a bold vision with a grassroots beginning, RdC now operates with a competent and talented Board, professional staff in Boston and Ecuador, close collaborators, and a vibrant alumni group located around the world.
Like a mustard seed, RdC is small, but its impact is great. A seed planted while living the gospel in solidarity with those on the margins in Ecuador grows in each participant’s heart over a lifetime.