While home on Christmas break from Syracuse University in the early 1980s, I shared my dreams of a big journalism career over lunch with Father John Reif. He observed that as a media member, I would hold a vital responsibility in keeping people informed about important issues. As a rather self-absorbed 20-year-old, I admittedly had given scant thought about my work’s impact on others.
Little did I know that I would come to appreciate his insight -- by covering the same Diocese of Rochester where my good pal Father Reif still ministers.
On Nov. 18, 1991, following eight years as a sports writer/photographer, I began at the Catholic Courier as a staff writer. And here I remain, 25 years later.
It’s been a quarter-century of driving to all corners of the diocese. Mustering big adrenaline rushes to beat deadlines. Reveling in newsroom laughter. Making a boatload of friends and acquaintances.
I’ve interviewed folks on inner-city streets and in hard-to-locate rural settings. At monasteries, prisons, hospitals, nursing facilities, college campuses and sports arenas. And churches -- lots of churches.
I've written about vocations, poverty, the sanctity of life; health care, violence, politics and being Christ-like. Done features on folks of all ages, nationalities, income levels and personality types. Learned about their joys, sorrows, challenges and accomplishments within their Catholic faith. These encounters, in turn, have helped my own faith deepen.
The job is always changing, always challenging, never boring. I continue to embrace the chance to deliver stories that, hopefully, are enjoyed and valued by our readership.
To me, this work doesn't stop at making a living. It's using my God-given talents to please him -- living out a vocation, really. Twenty-five years ago I was given that opportunity, and I remain thankful today to my employers and my Lord.