Last evening (Sept. 14) we had the annual convening of our diocesan and regional boards of Catholic Charities and their staffs. This year our gathering theme and prime focus was the 100th anniversary of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Rochester — an anniversary beautifully covered in the special supplement delivered with the September edition of our Catholic Courier monthly edition.
I enjoyed every bit of the evening but want to say a word about what to me was its highlight. That came when Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, presented the organization’s prestigious Centennial Award to Jack Balinsky, our diocesan director of Catholic Charities.
On the occasion of its own 100th anniversary, Catholic Charities USA struck centennial medals to be presented this year to 100 organizations or individuals who exemplify in particular and clear ways the values and ideals of the Catholic Charities movement in this country.
In my opinion, the choice was an excellent one. Jack has devoted most of his adult life to Catholic Charities. And when any cause gets a devoted Jack Balinsky, it receives someone with very special qualities — intelligence, integrity, commitment, and a willingness to work and to engage the energies of others and a profound respect for the dignity of all — especially those in need.
We have been blessed with Jack’s presence and ministry in our diocese for 18 years. As I congratulate him on the great compliment paid to him by Catholic Charities USA, I thank him on behalf of all of us for his presence and ministry among us.
Let me ask your prayers for God’s blessings on events that will be a part of my life in the days ahead.
On Friday, I’ll be at the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University to make two presentations at its Fourth Annual Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord Conference. This conference explores lay ecclesial ministry and gathers people from the dioceses of the greater New York area to participate.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, I join Father John Rose, a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse, and Patricia Kelly, a psychologist from the Philadelphia, area in offering some thoughts on ministry in today’s church to the priests and deacons of the Diocese of Syracuse.
On Thursday and Friday next week, the bishops of the eight dioceses of New York sate gather at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston in the Diocese of Brooklyn. During those two days we meet among ourselves, with representatives of the men and women religious of our province and with representatives of the Presbyteral Councils of our eight dioceses.
I confess to you that a good measure of the delight in my life comes from the gift it is to be in the company of such people as will be present at those three gatherings. They remind me that God continually pours forth good gifts on the community, that there is always something to learn and that we always have reason to hope.
Thank you for your kindness. I pray that the Lord will smile on your life and activities in the days ahead.
Peace to all.