Nancy O’Byrne, Pax Christi Florida state coordinator, received an award from the Florida bishops at the Catholic Days at the Capitol luncheon in Tallahassee, Florida last month.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award today; and deeply grateful that I belong to a Church that has a long, rich history of Catholic Social Teaching, responding to the Gospel Mandate to stand up for the poor, the lowly, the disenfranchised and marginalized; be it a baby in a Mother’s womb; an undocumented worker trying to support his family; a prisoner on death row; or a refugee fleeing from war and oppression,” Nancy stated in accepting the award. “We are all called to raise our voices in support of the dignity of each human person and the care of all God’s Creation.”
Bishop Felipe Estevez of the Diocese of St. Augustine nominated Nancy, who also serves as the Chair of the Diocese of St. Augustine Justice and Peace Commission and the Diocesan Coordinator of Just Faith, to receive the Thomas A. Horkan, Jr. Distinguished Catholic Leader Award. The award is presented by the Bishops of Florida to a Catholic Floridian whose life exemplifies gospel values and whose work has influenced the formation of public policies or programs that have enhanced the life of the church, deepened respect for life and increased appreciation for human dignity of the residents of the state.
Nancy retired in 2004 from working in Commercial Real Estate for 15 years and decided to take a more meaningful path in her life by devoting much of her time to advocacy for peace and justice issues in her church and in her community. In addition to being one of the Pax Christi Northeast Florida Coordinators for the past several years, she just became the State Coordinator for Pax Christi Florida. She also serves as the Diocesan CRS Fair Trade Ambassador; Chairwoman of the Legislative Advocacy Committee of the Diocesan Catholic Charities Board; one of the Justice Coordinators for the Sisters of St. Joseph of St. Augustine; and a member of Grandmothers for Peace. She was a Pastoral Care volunteer for Haven Hospice in St. Augustinefor two years. She now volunteers weekly at the Catholic Charities office in St. Augustine. She and her husband David have been married for 18 years and have 3 grown children and 6 beautiful grandsons.