Earlier this summer, the National Journal profiled me in an article that ran in late July or early August. The article was published digitally as part of the National Journal Daily. Unfortunately, the article is behind their paywall. However, the editor has given kind permission for me to reprint a portion of the article. Below is a reprint of the first several paragraphs.
From the National Journal Daily
by Jordain Carney
Pius Pietrzyk worked in corporate law in Chicago for three years before he left the legal world behind and entered training for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph in 2002 to become a priest. But a presidential appointment to the Legal Services Corp. in 2010 has given him another link—this time in a managerial sense—back to the legal world.
"I loved practicing law; I loved being a lawyer ... and in many ways I was sad to go," Pietrzyk said. But he added that the priesthood is "where I feel most at home."
Last week, President Obama nominated Pietrzyk, who was ordained as a priest in 2008, to serve another term on the Legal Services board of directors. The LSC is a nonprofit corporation that provides grants to programs that give legal assistance to low-income Americans. "The ultimate goal is helping the poor," Pietrzyk said of the organization, adding that he thought it was "a noble thing to do."
Although Obama first nominated Pietrzyk in 2010, it was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office that had suggested Pietrzyk to fill an open Republican seat on the LSC board. Pietrzyk called his nomination "completely out of the blue." LSC bylaws require that the 11-member board include someone who could technically qualify as a client, or someone with a household income at 125 percent of the poverty level or below. Pietrzyk, who took a vow of poverty as part of the Dominican Order, fit the bill.
"I'm sort of old fashioned.… When a member of the Senate asks if you want to serve, my first reaction is kind of 'OK,' " he said, explaining his decision to join the LSC board. At the time, he had heard of the organization, but wasn't overly familiar with it.
Pietrzyk said one complaint he had about his involvement with LSC is the intense vetting of applicants. Pietrzyk, 40, was first contacted by McConnell's office in January 2010, and it took eight months until he received final approval by the Senate. The process included submitting any writing or speeches he had given, fingerprinting, undergoing a background check with the FBI, and financial disclosure, among other things. "It's a little easier for me, because when they asked for my financial assets I just write zero, zero, zero, zero," he said, but he added that he wonders if the process "discourages people from serving their country."
* * *©2013 by the National Jornal Daily, Reprinted with permission