I have been told that at 5:31 PM, on August 12, 1955, I was born into the world.
My parents were Betsy and Paul. I am very happy that they chose to bring me into the world. Being the first born, they certainly had some time to practice being parents before they had a second child. They did well. I grew up happy in a wonderful neighborhood. When times threw a difficulty or curve ball, I managed to survive. My foundation of faith and my parents’ love set a pace for me that has worked wonderfully for me to this very day.
I appreciate my gift of life and have no problem acknowledging my birthday. I find it a great moment to reflect and contemplate my origins, where I have been, where I find myself in the present moment and even looking ahead to what the future holds.
I think with great love about many dear friends and family who have journeyed home to eternity. This birthday I lovingly think about my friend Helen Kontis who died recently at the age of 107. Last year there was a wonderful party for her at her daughter and son-in-law’s home. I was looking forward to another celebration this fall. You can never celebrate too much, another year of blessed life!
Helen was a beautiful woman inside and out. I feel so honored to have known her and to have been able to call her a friend. I think of her life and the blessings she added to my own.
Last week a man I admire, Jack Schottmiller, went home to the Lord a day before his 92nd birthday! Jack, as many of those with Saint Catherine history know, was a phenomenal steward to the parish and a profoundly faithful disciple of the Lord. He celebrated his birthday as he hoped being reunited in heaven with his beloved wife, Anne, and his two children.
August 12th is a special day, not just because it is my birthday but it is a special day for many other people I know. It is the birthday of friends Sarah Smith, Matt Quercia and Clyde Cutter. It is also the birthday of a long time friend, Deacon Dan Abballe who went home to the Lord this year. Dan was full of life and spirit and I am sure he is thriving in eternity in the eternal Kingdom.
I was blessed to preside at two weddings of dear friends on August 12th. On my fortieth, James and Pamela Griffin exchanged their vows on a very hot and humid afternoon on Long Island. They currently live in London. I hope I might get to visit them before they return to the States. Five years ago, Greg and Lindsey Ferrari had me preside at their wedding in Park City, Utah. It was my first time in Park City and its beauty was even in the sacred surrounding of the local church. These are two wedding anniversaries that I easily remember the date and number of years they haven been married.
And August has many other wonderful friends who celebrate their birthdays as well. Some are Mary Ann DiRaddo, Deb Stanton, Kelly Gryglewicz, Mickey Corsi, Caryl & Don Funke, Emma Barstow, Donna Goldbach, Bridget Blanchard, Dick Brown, Brooke Portland, Peter Clifford, Mike Bausch, Todd Koen, Kathy Goldbach, Jim D’Aiello, Luca Ferrari, Kristen Remington, Theresa Mandelaro, Laura Barstow, Rick Farrell and several parishioners from both Saint Catherine of Siena and Transfiguration! I have a lot of wonderful company to celebrate birthdays!
I am so appreciative of my life. The Lord has blessed me continuously with His unconditional love. His presence to me has enabled me to meet life and its joys and challenges. I cannot thank the Lord enough.
I thank Him again this birthday! I thank Him for all who have been there for me, my parents, family, friends and the good sisters and brothers from my two parishes. Life is good.
You will be in my heart and soul not only on the August 12ths of my life, but every day!
In gratitude and thanksgiving for you,