Day 12: Lenten 50 Day Giveaway: Appreciating Marriage

Aarti Rego-Pereira is a professor at UB now, but I remember when she was just a graduate student. When I first arrived at St. Joe’s everyone told me that I had to meet Aarti and sure enough, they were right.

Aarti was fairly recently married and I had the pleasure of meeting her husband, Clinton this Christmas. The two of them make a lovely couple. So here’s hoping that they’ll put my gift to good use.

Day 11: Lenten 50 Day Giveaway: Servant Deacon

So Deacon Paul Emerson has a new grandchild and so I decided to give him a book on the Diaconate because he has been traveling to see new grandchild in Cleveland and now has returned home to more contemplative surroundings. He loves that new baby, as does his wife Wendy, but he also loves being a deacon. So in his spare time…

Blessings on the new family member.

Day 10: 50 Day Giveaway: Justice

Evelyn Brady is the head of our parish’s human trafficking committee. She also confuses my name all the time and I poke fun at that. I’m really not offended, no really I’m not. She’s one of the sweetest people I’ve met at St Joe’s and boy, does she have a heart for justice. Tonight we had a walking prayer for human trafficking victims much like the stations of the cross–and Evelyn was at the heart of leading the evening. It was quite moving to see pictures of little children being asked if having intercourse or oral sex with an adult was ok and them readily agreeing. Shameful. But Evelyn is working for positive change and so…she gets a book on justice.

The organization Invisible Children will be at St Joe’s on Sunday night and they are leaders in the area of anti-human trafficking–or as I call it, slavery. Stop on by and watch a short film on trafficking in Uganda and learn what you can do about it.

Here’s a preview:

And if you don’t think you’re part of the problem—check out this little site that tells you how many slaves work for YOU. I have 34 shamefully.

If You’ve Noticed…

So we are into Day 9 of the 50 day giveaway and I’ve really tried to identify something spiritual or emotional that I’m giving away. I was most touched by Liz’s gratitude so far on Day 6 and impressed by Amy’s lenten fast from fear.

But what have I given up for Lent besides a few trinkets and books and other things that are my own? I think I’ve been pushing myself to give up my own vulnerability—to let others know how I feel about them and how much I have admired them during my short time now in Buffalo.

It’s been a lot harder to give away something this time around. I have to think a bit more carefully about why I want to give an item to someone and how I might want to express myself to them.

So today, let’s pray that we drop our facades and become more real for others, to let them know how much they have meant to us.

For Lent reminds us that we don’t have forever, that time is precious and that we have to live in the present moment as best we can.

Day 8: Lenten 50 Day Giveaway: Sisterly Love

So Megan is one of the students at UB who I really think of like a little sister. She’s one of the only people who I let call me….

Meggie is someone who allows me to be a bit silly and often makes me feel comfortable enough to share more of who I am with others. She has been a gift to the Newman Center where she spends a good deal of her time.

Day 7: Lenten 50 Day Giveaway: Camaraderie

So the best man at my wedding and I have an ongoing argument about whether former Yankee great Paul O’Neill is a Hall of Famer or not. I believe those great teams would have been 2nd rate without him and his leadership. My best man disagrees but went out and gave me a Paul O’Neill Doll once. So I’m now giving it to another who agrees with me.

See ya in the hall Paulie O.

Day 6: Lenten 50 Day Giveaway: Sympathy

OK, this just about made my day. There is so much reflected in today’s video that it’s very striking.

So one of my favorite people on our staff (in case anyone has noticed, I have a lot of favorites–just don’t tell THEM that), is Liz Papke, who cleans our offices. I’m especially grateful to her, because cleaning after the likes of me can’t possibly be a good experience. But Liz does her job with much gratitude and love.

Recently Liz posted on Facebook that her loving pet, a dog Achillies, who she cared for for many years, finally had to be put down. It’s never easy, but Liz had many good years with that good old dog. And so I decided to give a piece of sympathy to Liz today:

Liz left my office repeating the words “I can’t wait, I can’t wait!”

Gratitude. The grace offered back from Liz to me.

This Lent rocks.

Day 5: Lenten Giveaway: The Family Cloister

One of my favorite people in Buffalo has been my friend and colleague Amy Vukelic, who I stopped at mass and gave Sunday’s giveaway to:

Amy has a great regard for both her family and for also including others in her family. She’s one of the most open and welcoming people I’ve ever met. Her work in running a volunteer program here in Buffalo with Catholic Charities, is inspirational and life-changing for those who enter it. I’ve been blessed to be part of this group as a spiritual director for some and a support person for others and have grown close to many of the volunteers thanks to Amy’s invitation.

So this book, on using Benedictine wisdom to enhance family life will be well used by someone who already does much in this regard.

Thanks, Amy for all you do.