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Father Martin M. Jenco, O.S.M.

In 1984 he arrived in Beirut, Lebanon, as the Program Director for Catholic Relief Services, and on January 8, 1985, was abducted by terrorists. His friends, family and his fellow captives in Lebanon have intimate stories to tell of their interaction with Marty. He nourished them and was nourished in turn by them.

After his release from captivity, as Marty was winding up affairs at C.R.S. headquarters in New York, he found time to extend his pastoral care to scores of people attending daily Mass in the Wall St. Church where he was staying.

All of these diverse communities looked upon Marty as a good and faithful servant. The entire Servite family around the world held him in high regard.

In his impressive book, Bound to Forgive, he wrote, "The concept of service is very much part of my understanding of priesthood."

Marty Jenco travelled numerous times across the United States and overseas. He gave retreats and missions and addressed thousands of people in interdenominational settings at universities, seminaries, churches, or conference centers, accepting honorary degrees and awards, all the while spreading his message of peace and forgiveness.

Anyone who knew Marty for any length of time saw how generously he shared himself, but they realized also, that no one could own him or claim him. He was, and remained throughout his life,
a free spirit.

Father Jenco loved people. He is still remembered by a long list of friends from all over the world.

Father Martin M. Jenco, O.S.M., was born in Joliet, Illinois, on November 27, 1934, the son of John and Henrietta (Cirhan) Jenco. He attended grade school at St. Bernard's Parish in Joliet.

Father Jenco ministered to a diversity of persons in his global ministry over a span of thirty-seven years. Beginning with his teaching assignment in the minor seminary at Elgin, he continued to serve for many years in Servite formation communities in San Francisco and Berkeley, California.

Everywhere he went, wherever he served, Marty affected people uniquely. Only those whose lives he touched, and in many instances helped to change significantly, can tell just how deep his impact was on them.

His call to serve overseas took Marty to a variety of places and cultures in Australia, Asia, and the Middle East, among people who professed different faiths -- Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish and Christian.

 

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