2017 Summer Reflection: Faces familiar and inspiring

Happy Labor Day!  As summer fades away, I am surprised how quickly my summer vacation flew.  It became busier as each week passed until the last week was a flurry of activity before my return to the seminary.

With classes cranking up on Sept. 5, I just have enough time to write about one thing about my vacation: the inspiring people I met.

Father James Kuroly was my classmate in elementary school.  He went to seminary after college and has been ordained a priest for about 10 years.  A few years ago, he was named pastor of St. Rose of Lima in Rockaway Beach, N.Y.  He invited me to visit him during my vacation.

As we walked around the church and Father James talked about his work, I was left amazed.  Thin on finances but rich in faith and people, he helped grow the parish.

He offered very valuable tips about living the priestly life such as remember the mission when times get tough and don’t judge the work of previous pastors.  The help he received as a seminarian, Father James passed it on to me by allowing me to stay overnight at the rectory for a day of prayer and quiet.

The next inspiring faces were the Sisters of Life.  I met four of them (Sisters Monica Faustina, Cecilia Rose, Virginia Joy and Mariana Benedicta) during my 30-day retreat in February.  They were pleasure to chat with during the two rest days on the retreat.  They invited me and my fellow novices to visit them in New York.

Halfway through my vacation, I visited Sisters Cecilia Rose and Virginia Joy in the West Side convent and Sister Mariana Benedicta in the Upper East Side convent.  We were all amazed how much had happened since the retreat.  I was touched by their work to help women with crisis pregnancies and promote life.

They even gave me a cupcake to celebrate first vows.

(Actually, the Sisters were celebrating with an expecting mother that she would be having a boy.  But the cupcake was a cute and tasty present.)

Enjoy Labor Day.  Chow down on some barbecue, play games and thank God for the opportunity to work to build up a small part of the world.

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