The Center for FaithJustice inspires the next generation of leaders by creating programs to serve those in need and educate for justice in the Catholic tradition.
- The Bond Between Faith and Justice
Rooted in the Catholic tradition, the Center for FaithJustice affirms the essential relationship between what we believe and how we live. We join the words “Faith” and “Justice” into a single term to reflect our conviction that faith and justice are intimately bound together. God calls us – as individuals and as communities – to act on behalf of the vulnerable, weak and oppressed. Through CFJ’s work, we ask people of faith to revisit and renew their commitment to the Gospel and the common good. We are inspired by the Second Vatican Council’s teaching that “[t]he laity must take up the renewal of the temporal order as their own special obligation,” and thus “[e]verywhere and in all things they must seek the justice of God’s kingdom.” Through our projects, we hope that people of good will grow in understanding of the spiritual life and deepen their commitment to pursuing social, economic, and political justice for all people. Since our founding in 2008, we have served more than 4,000 young people through our WorX programs, which are retreat-style service immersion experiences. For more information, check out our programs page. Our alumni have gone on to become impressive servant leaders in many diverse fields.
The Center for FaithJustice is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charity.
A lifelong Catholic and advocate of service and justice, Stephanie was appointed President of the Center for FaithJustice in April 2015. She is an executive in the non-profit sector with more than 15 years of experience in all aspects of philanthropic management. Early in her career, she served as an Assistant Vice President at Community Counselling Service (CCS Fundraising), directing several major campaigns, development audits, and feasibility studies for a diverse client roster. Upon leaving that firm, Ms. Peddicord assumed senior leadership positions at two non-profit organizations, both of which drew upon not only her fundraising expertise but also broader skill set in administration and communications. In 2009, she founded Peddicord Consulting, LLC, a boutique firm that has allowed her to provide a scope of capacity-building services to non-profit clients. Having had deeply transformative service experiences herself as a teen and young adult, Stephanie views this appointment as a full circle moment of opportunity to impact the community and the future of the Catholic Church. As President, she spearheads visioning, external affairs, and strategic planning and partnerships.
Mary Ann comes to CFJ after working in student affairs in higher education for the last decade. She most recently worked as the Associate Director of Student Engagement for Community Service at Philadelphia University. Prior to her work at PhilaU, she served as the Assistant Dean of Students at Westminster Choir College in Princeton and in numerous other roles at Rider University. She also serves on two national non-profit boards and is one of the co-coordinators for the IMPACT national conference on civic engagement. She received her M.A., Ed.S., and B.A. in psychology from Rider University. While most of her work has been secular, Mary Ann is a lifelong Catholic and person of deep faith. A local of Central New Jersey, she is an alumna of Holy Cross High School (now Academy) in Delran, NJ where her involvement in campus ministry and service to others began to thrive. She continued to follow that passion in college by joining the New Jersey Bonner Leader program, serving at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and HomeFront.
Manager of Business & Financial Operations
A lifelong resident of Mercer County and Byzantine Catholic, Dorice joined the Center for FaithJustice in August 2014 with more than 15 years of experience in business and non-profit management. She has worked extensively with the non-profit sector specializing in business operations for grass-root organizations. For two years, she held a seat on the Board of Directors with Dress for Success Mercer County, chairing the Development & Event Committee. Her adaptability, drive and hands on approach in the workplace has led to significant outcomes for businesses and non-profit organizations. Dorice leads a demonstrated track-record in donor cultivation, individual giving and volunteer recruitment to drive increased major gifts, fundraising goals and constituent involvement. She holds an M.A. degree in Educational Counseling Psychology from Rider University and is passionate about philanthropic endeavors with an emphasis on education, children, social justice and community development.
Martha has been privileged to minister within a variety of faith communities — parishes, diocesan agencies, retreat centers, retirement communities and now the Center for FaithJustice — for more than thirty years. The last decade included working as a Pastoral Associate for Worship at St. Charles Borromeo in Skillman, NJ and Program Associate for the Vincentian Renewal Center of St Joseph’s Seminary in Princeton, NJ. A passionate student, Martha has pursued advanced degrees in spirituality and fine arts and is currently writing her dissertation for a Doctor of Letters. There are a number of Divine imperatives that resonate with the work to which Martha has been called: feed, welcome, unite, bless, pray, listen, rest, rejoice, wash, eat, drink. At the heart of this role is its communal dynamic. No part can be achieved alone. The clearest, loudest part of any call Martha has heard with regard to her work is that it accompanies others. That work which has brought the greatest joy has connected her to faithful women and men asking, seeking, knocking (lamenting, cajoling, wondering, wandering, thanking, doubting, crying, dying) as together they find their way. From moment to moment they are, any one, shepherd and sheep, pardoner and pardoned, giver and gift. This is the good, important work in which Martha continues to be engaged.
Kimby first joined the CFJ family as a participant on JusticeworX. Her experience there sparked her interest, and after several more service/immersion trips the fire was burning! She attended Boston College where she deepened her faith and knowledge and fell in love with the Jesuits! She graduated with the call to “set the world aflame” ringing in her ears.
The call led her to Nashville where she earned her masters in Diversity and Urban Studies. While completing her degree, Kimby interned at a juvenile detention center. The experiences there strongly impacted her, and developed within her a deep compassion for youth and adults who are detained and incarcerated.
Seán Patrick Sanford
After a decade of experience working with schools, faith communities, and nonprofit organizations, Seán Patrick Sanford founded the Center for FaithJustice in 2007; he served as a the Executive Director of CFJ from 2007 through 2011, and as President from 2007 to 2012. He is a currently a member of the Board of Trustees.
A 1997 graduate of St. Joseph’s University, Seán has studied at Union Theological Seminary, the Mexican American Cultural Center, and Temple University, where he is currently completing his doctoral degree. His research focuses on Catholic studies, American religious history, religion & sexuality, and political theology. Prior to founding CFJ, Seán served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Catholic Community of St. Charles Borromeo (Skillman, NJ), and as the first lay Executive Director of St. Joseph’s Seminary (Princeton, NJ). Seán has served as board member and consultant to a number of faith-based and secular organizations, and facilitated talks, retreats, and workshops on a variety of themes. He is the recipient of Enable’s 2006 Discover Independence Community Award and Saint Josephs’ University’s 2011 Ignatius Award for “embrac[ing] the Jesuit ideal of living … a faith that promotes justice.”
Board of Trustees
Rocky Balsamo, Long & Foster Real Estate, The Rocky Balsamo Real Estate Group
Adam Day, Tyco
Stephen DeMarco, Goldman Sachs
Laura Heil, Community Volunteer
Meghan Heil-Colarusso, BlackRock
Thomas Hogan, Retired, MetLife
Dayna Pizzigoni Hanna, Loyola University Maryland
Christine Rath, Community Volunteer
Sean Sanford, Founder, Doctoral Candidate Temple University
Deborah Seme, Cengage Inc.
Mike Stewart, UBS Financial Services, Inc.
Alexandra Varga, Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability
Alex participated in a variety of Center for FaithJustice programs as a high school student as well as the LeaderworX program while in college. Years after those experiences, she looked back on the effect that those experiences had on her.
“The Center for FaithJustice programs made it so easy to connect — to my peers, to the people we were trying to help, to my faith. Throughout the programs and the months after what I remember most is this incredible feeling — a mix of happiness, hope, purpose, empowerment, amongst many other emotions. I remember that during those experiences, I really felt like myself, and it was the closest I ever felt to being the person that I want to be, and that my faith teaches me to be.
After I graduated from high school and moved on through college and my early adult life — while I continued to volunteer, attend church, develop connections with my peers, and pursue a career dedicated to helping promote environmental and social justice — finding the same connection was much more difficult. And while I can say I am still struggling to find the meaning and purpose in my life and figure out who I am and where I want to be, I continuously draw on my earlier sense of self I discovered in the FaithJustice Programs. I use the feeling as sort of a proxy for making decisions. I know when I am doing something that gives me that same feeling as I had back then, that I am doing something right and I am being who I really am, and closer to who I want to be.”
In 2009, Alex earned a Masters of Science from Columbia University and is currently employed by the Earth Institute, a collection of research centers affiliated with the university. Her work is focused on species and ecosystem conservation.
Rev. Hugo Medellin, C.M.
Hugo volunteered as part of the LeaderworX program in the summer of 2007 while in the Vincentian seminary.
“The energetic young people who formed the LeaderworX group were amazing. They proved themselves to be very dedicated and enthusiastic about social justice issues. As a Vincentian seminarian, I found very encouraging to spend a summer with all of them and I learned a lot from them.
Given my different culture and age, I, at first, felt a little distant. Additionally, because I was so zealously focused on social justice, I wanted to be serious all the time and to keep the focus on what I felt was important. Eventually, I realized more profoundly the wisdom contained in book of Ecclesiastes, “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” So I learned to laugh. I laughed many times. Some of the most remarkable moments of laughter were at the work sites. For instance, in a daycare facility for mentally challenged people, one of the customers wanted a picture with me. After we took the first shot, I asked for another and he agreed. But this time he took off a helmet he used to wear all the time. Nobody dared to touch that helmet because he would not allow others to touch it, but I took the helmet and put it on. We shared a sweet laugh. There were many moments with a similar feeling of joy during that summer.
I think the JusticeworX and LeaderworX participants also learned from me. I was able to share the stories of my youth and my experience as an immigrant in this country. The other participants and I were able to learn from the differences in our histories, but were also given the opportunity to witness the commonality of our human experience. I felt welcomed as part of that community.”
Hugo Medellin is a member of the Congregation of the Mission. He received an M.A. in theology from The Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in 2009 and is finishing his Masters of Divinity in that same institution. Hugo was ordained a Catholic priest in 2010.
As a high school junior, Annie participated in a WorX program in the Appalachian area of eastern Kentucky. Shortly after that experience, she reflected on the week.
“During our week in Kentucky, we worked building houses for the poor with Habitat for Humanity. After working through the day on the housing site, we would walk to Hurley’s, a little store near by, in the evenings. One night, when my friends and I went in to buy cookie dough for a snack, the man who owned the store, Cassey, struck up a conversation with us. By the end of the night our entire team was sitting on the porch, discussing the problems of the world with him.
During those few hours we spent on the porch I discovered that I am not alone in the world. Even though I can do many things on my own, I am going to need some help along the way. The people that I was helping were helping me as well. Our program facilitators led me to understand that even though I can do many things on my own, I need others, as they need me.”
A year later, as a high school senior, Annie participated in another WorX program, this time to Tijuana, Mexico.
“In Mexico, I worked beside the poor on the same project. The opportunity to work with the poor brought me back to Mexico two more times, after my senior year of high school and again after my freshman year of college. This experience altered how I did any service in the future and adjusted my vision for what I want to do with my life.”
Annie is currently the Youth Development Coordinator at Juma Ventures, a social enterprise college-access program for at-risk high school youth, where she works to reduce the psychosocial barriers that could prevent them from being successful in college and beyond. She is simultaneously pursuing a Doctorate in International and Multicultural Education with a Human Rights Emphasis at the University of San Francisco. Annie holds a B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Experimental Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University. In 2007-2008, she served as a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, where she worked as the Outreach Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator and Summer Program Coordinator at the Mustard Seed School in Sacramento, California.