Today was the Fourth Sunday in Advent. Gosh, The other three Sundays have breezed by. The sun was out today on my trip to Mt. Irenaeus and though it was a chilly 20 degrees Fahrenheit it made for an enjoyable day. Christmas is only five days distant and when I got to the Mountain I climbed out of my car with my bag of groceries. Almost immediately I was surrounded by a small flock of chickadees who welcomed me home. Coming to Mt. Irenaeus always seems like home especially if I’ve been away a week or two. Today, once again the chickadees lit in my hand and I’ve embedded a video that I took with my Flip Camera. I feel so blessed to have these little fellows land in my hand. It’s very inviting and true to the Mountain’s mission they have a way of making all things new in Jesus Christ.
Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM today’s celebrant, asked me to read the Second Reading today and I also got to bring up the gifts along with fellow Secular Franciscan, John Dutcher. Today’s attendance was small due to the end of the semester at St. Bonaventure University, but these smaller gatherings are always a bit more intimate and that is very enjoyable for me. After brunch was complete I drove down to Olean, New York for a bit of shopping and then stopped by St. Elizabeth Motherhouse, the home of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. They have a lovely creche that I like to visit during the holidays. I also spent sometime in their chapel. I arrived in time for Eucharistic adoration. Thank you very much to the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany who were my teachers from Kindergarten through some of high school.
Yesterday I got news that I’d been accepted into the M.S. in Educational Leadership at St. Bonaventure University. I am beginning a course of study which I hope will prove interesting and provide me with needed professional growth. September 4, 1957 as a four year old boy I entered a Franciscan institution. Now, fifty-two years later I’m doing the same thing. I was excited then and I’m excited now. The most poignant memory I have of 1957 is riding the bus to that school. In the ensuing nine years I became a graduate of St. Piux X School in Delevan, New York and was formed and informed by the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany. Little did I know what a profound effect they had on my life.
Much has changed in the past fifty years but the values that have formed my life came from my parents and those tireless Allegany Franciscan Sisters. It was they who taught me to read and what a gift that has been to a curious fellow like me. it was those sisters and later Franciscan friars at Archbishop Walsh in Olean who would animate my life in ways that I never imagined. I remember sitting in study hall as a high school freshman looking west at the tiled roofs of the campus of St. Bonaventure University. I remember following the St. Bonaventure basketball team. Bob Lanier, Bill Kalbaugh, Paul Hoffman, Matt Gantt and Greg Gary stirred my young imagination. I attended only one game at the Reilly Center in 1967 but, I often followed their exploits on my AM radio. I watched the “Big Cat” and his mates subdue the Purdue Boilermakers on television with my Dad and brother.
Much of my life has centered around St. Bonaventure and now I’m a student. I’m enrolled in a program that will see me attending classes at St. Bonaventure’s Buffalo center at Hilbert College and taking much of the course of study on-line. I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m excited nonetheless.