It’s been quite a week. Besides the joy of seeing a new Pope emerge, my week has been blessed with many gifts where different people offered me much to be grateful for.
The first are a bunch of new students and a new colleague. Instead of our usual spring break plan of organizing and taking students on an alternative spring break experience we decided to concentrate on what we do well on those trips which is helping people focus on the reflective elements of these trips. The University was already planning to do a fee alternative break experiences of their own and they invited me to be part of one of them. It was a “give where you live experience” in Buffalo. Each day the students went to a different service organization in Buffalo that served the needs of children and teens in the area. They even asked me to set up a day of service at our parish school which had our students being teacher’s aides for the day and another group painting sets for the kids’ upcoming performance of “Annie.”
The highlight of the week was working with a bright young woman named Baylee. Fresh out of undergrad, Baylee is working on a graduate degree at UB in higher Ed administration and she planned and organized the trip and trained the two student leaders, Kate and Erica who were also amazing. Each night I’d gather with them to help deepen the experience through reflection. The students had some amazing insights and the full day I spent with them at St Joe’s was a heartfelt reminder of how much they have to offer to people who are in need of their gifts. Baylee really did a wonderful job and was gracious enough to invite me into their space and gave me an opportunity to witness to all the good work that had been done. I had great conversations with the students over meals and evening hang outs, hearing about their relationship struggles, their homelike and their college experience alongside the service experience.
I was also able to offer them a brief tour of our church building. And nearly all of them signed up to do service projects with our campus ministry in April. One student even said she was inspired to go back to mass after the tour of the church and many others were certainly thinking about it. In our “highs and lows” of our days one student said, “Without a doubt, my high was the church, cause I haven’t been in a church in sometime and it was so peaceful and beautiful. I’m glad I know it’s there.”
Yesterday, I traveled to New York City and spoke at my old stomping grounds at St. Paul the Apostle to a group of about 60 young adults at their group called Apostolist. It was a networking event where lots of business cards were exchanged between people. I got to talk about my book, Loving Work and sign a bunch of copies. Lots of inspiration was flowing and I could see the wheels turning for people. It was interesting to see so many people who were looking to deepen their experience of work and many who are hoping to change tracks in their career. Fr. Steven Bell, CSP invited me and it is always great to spend time with him and his dynamic personality. He introduced ,e and it was the first time I’ve ever been referred to as a “Titan”.
So all in all, much to be grateful for. I also get the opportunity to see my parents, my best friend, my college roommate, celebrate a dear friend’s birthday and spend time with friends who soon will be married. A fun-filled two days in my hometown that has already renewed my spirit.
Today, let us pray for the gift of inspiration and renewal in our lives. Come Holy Spirit and renew our lives with hope and energy to be able to be men and women for others. May St. Ignatius intercede for us in helping us to find God in all things today.
And it is St Patrick’s Day in NYC….a great day for a parade!