Recognizing a humble advocate - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Recognizing a humble advocate

My trip to Albany on Tuesday, March 8, for the annual Public Policy Day of the New York State Catholic Conference was, as usual, a significant experience. I hope that you will read the coverage of the event provided by reporter Rob Cullivan and photographer Mike Crupi.

To their work, I want to add brief comments about an element of a related event I found to be hopeful, inspiring and helpful to prayer as we move closer to the Easter feast.

That was the award made to Kathy Dubel, justice-and-peace director of the Chemung/Schuyler Office of Catholic Charities for her long and distinguished service to and advocacy on behalf of our sisters and brothers in need. Kathy received the honor from the Association of Catholic Charities Directors of New York state. At a reception on the eve of Public Policy Day, Tony Barbaro, the director of the Chemung/Schuyler Office, introduced Kathy and outlined for those attending the reception her considerable achievements. Space would not permit me to itemize all that Kathy has done. Suffice it to say that she has been a strong and effective witness to the fact that service to the poor and advocacy on their behalf are embraced in our call to be faithful disciples of the Lord.

I thought after the event that it was a good decision to have Tony present Kathy’s rich record to those present at the reception. I say that because — had that responsibility been placed on Kathy — all would have left the reception unaware of why she was so recognized. Why? Because this generous woman spent the time available to her to recognize and thank those who had supported her through her remarkable career — her husband Tom, her colleagues, the people of the Southern Tier who have been so supportive of her and her work.

Her words were strong witness to the Lord and our common call to live as he lived and to serve as he served. I thought of Kathy and her words often on the snowy drive back to Rochester. What she had to say reminded me that we are not as faithful as the Lord would have us be if we do not have a lively orientation to the service and support of those who need our care. We will respond to that awareness in a wide variety of ways because of differences in the opportunities, resources and abilities we have. But what really matters is that we do what we can, always praying that we do it in the spirit of Christ.

Kathy’s comments on that occasion achieved their good purpose in this listener. Part of my thinking and prayer on the way home included a wide range of people who, like Kathy, spend their lives encouraging, sustaining and walking with those who for a longer or shorter time have need of the community’s support.

I conclude these comments by thanking Kathy for providing such a rich moment for all of us who were privileged to be at the reception on Monday evening. I thank her as well for stimulating the dear memories I have of so many others in our diocese who live for others every day of their lives and who, like Kathy, are humble and quiet as they serve the Lord.

Peace to all.

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