The 2009 Gartland Award Winners for the Savannah deanery, Mark Czachowski and Virginia Dickey, were honored at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Nov. 22.
Named for Francis X. Gartland, the first Bishop of Savannah, the award is given for distinguished service to the Catholic Church in South Georgia. The award was instituted in 2000 to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Diocese of Savannah.
Czachowski and his family have been members of St. Boniface for 14 years. He has been a member of the Parish Council and Chairman of the Finance Committee, a Crown Financial Ministries graduate and a facilitator of the First Crown Financial Ministries Class conducted by and for St. Boniface parishioners.
Mark and his wife, Faye, were the Youth Group Leaders for a while, Mark and his sons have been active with the Buildings and Grounds Committee and have put in many hours on the upkeep of St. Boniface property.
Czachowski is a great motivational speaker and has been called upon to give many presentations.
Dickey has been with St. Boniface since its beginning, as a mission in 1987. Extraordinary Minister for 15 or more years and president of the C.C. Wand, also of the PTA at Rincon Elementary School. Dickey has been a First Communion teacher for 22 years, helped Sr. Rose in the church office, and has been active in many charitable projects. She and her husband David have three daughters, a son-in-law and a granddaughter.
The gold and blue award pin combines elements of Bishop Gartland’s episcopal coat of arms with elements from the shield of the Diocese of Savannah. His motto, Vincit Veritas, or “Truth conquers,” is inscribed on the pin.
Bishop Gartland, born in Dublin, Ireland in 1805, was named bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Savannah in July 1850. A true missionary bishop, he traveled the expanse of the diocese, which at that time included all of Georgia and part of northern Florida.
When a yellow fever epidemic struck the city of Savannah, he visited the sick tirelessly, administering the sacraments, until he, himself, contracted the fever and died in 1854.
Sixty South Georgians received the Bishop Gartland Service Award.