• Father Bill Brown walks from Brockport to Bergen along Route 19 May 23, 2003 as part of his trek through New York to raise money for missions in Peru. (Courier file photo)

Finding joy among inconveniences

Mike Latona/Staff Writer / Catholic Courier    |    09.18.2018
Category: Our Two Cents

Lately, I’ve caught myself moping a bit because it’s time to close down our swimming pool for the season – soon to be followed by the parka, gloves and ice scraper all coming out of hibernation. Ah, woe is me!

Knowing that I struggle with the thought of winter, this year I’m attempting an attitude adjustment rather than wallow in self-pity about my cursed existence here in the snow and cold of western New York.

And I think I’ve got just the person to help me out: a Franciscan missionary priest who lives some 3,500 miles from here.

I’ve known Wellsville native Father Bill Brown since 1992 — my first year with the Catholic Courier — when I wrote a story of how he walked 500 miles in one month through the dioceses of Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse to raise funds for his work among the poor of Peru.

I was so taken with Father Brown’s cause that I became, and remain, an annual donor. As such, I receive a few newsletter updates from him each year. He continues to express happiness and thankfulness for all that he does, despite the Peruvian natives’ extreme poverty and his own lack of conveniences.

Father Brown is now 82 and, one would think, has earned the right to retire comfortably. Not so: He still lives and ministers in Peru after 59 years there, exuding joy in his newsletters about the kind of ministry that only a tiny percentage of us would dare take on for any length of time.

So much for my concerns about closing the pool. Thanks, Father Brown, for reminding me that my purpose in life should not be about maximizing my list of creature comforts, but striving toward doing God’s work — a priority that knows no season. 

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