I have accepted the position of Director of Campus Ministry at Canisius College, which for the uninformed is the Jesuit college here in Buffalo. So I will not be moving but will simply have another few traffic lights to pass on my way to work as Canisius is up the block a bit from St. Joe’s on Main Street.
I’ve always wanted to work at a Jesuit School, so the opportunity that presents itself to me now is a great one. My colleagues at Canisius are awesome and I have spent some time with them at vicariate meetings and other various events here in town. So I’m really looking forward to working with a team of Campus Ministers.
I will miss my colleagues at St. Joe’s immensely. Fr. Jack Ledwon has become more than a pastor, he’s also a trusted friend and an amazing guy. He’s been the older brother I never had (because he’s far too young to be my father). Sr. Jeremy Midura, Patty Spear and Diane Brennan keep the pastoral staff in tip top shape and made my days at St. Joe’s fun and lighthearted. I will miss our hallway conversations. Deacons Ted Pijacki and Paul Emerson were also great, great colleagues along with our weekend assistants Fr. Xavier Seubert, Msgr. Angelo Callugeri and Fr. Michael Tunney, S.J. who becomes one of my new Canisius colleagues as well now.
Ken Wells, Maureen Kruse, Athena Schmidt and Joanne Messer were the best support staff of all time. Can I take you all with me? =)
Of course the students are too numerous to mention but in four years those of you who were freshmen with me that first year have now graduated. Medical Students, have become doctors and graduate students have advanced degrees now. Faculty and staff welcomed me into being a colleague at UB–especially those in the medical school at the gross anatomy lab and the Behling simulation center (my two favorite places on campus). It’s the closest I’ll ever be to being in medical school. I’ve been so proud to watch you grow and become the person who you have trained hard to be, and also who God calls you into being. Each moment with you was a privilege.
My colleagues at UB’s Newman Center in Campus Ministry over the years, Julianne Wallace, Ed and Katie Koch, Debbie and J.P. Moore, and the amazing Msgr. Pat Keleher…you’ve been a lot of fun.
And lastly, Christine Marino, who has served as my erstwhile assistant this year, I think I’ll miss working with you most of all. Thanks for always making me look good, confirming my suspicions and fears and for have the guts to tell me in no uncertain terms when frankly, I was full of it. You’re gonna be a hell of a doctor.
I’m on a Charis retreat on (of all things) Transitions for a few days with the young adults of the diocese. They’re awesome and it’s been a good opportunity for me to think about the transition I’m moving into as well.
I found a yellow balloon yesterday floating on the retreat center’s campus. Canisius’ color is that very type of Golden Yellow. I felt drawn to get it and I trudged through a wet grassy field to retrieve it and then I couldn’t stop playing “punching bag” with the balloon. I felt like a little kid again and believe that much fun and great things await at Canisius. God reminds us that our work should in fact, be fun from time to time. That work helps us contribute to others and be amazed at the joys that life has to bring. It brought me simple joy and reminded me that God has amazing things in store for us if we just open our eyes and look and enjoy the simple pleasures.
So I start this new venture on July 8th and need your prayers. As do my new colleagues at Canisius. The Jesuits have long been good to me and it feels good to be “in the family” again after my educational formation at Fordham for both of my degrees. It is in that Ignatian spirit that I feel most consoled and I will be taking a final two weeks at St Joe’s to wrap things up and then another two weeks of rest and, yes, grieving–with each transition there is always some loss but also much to be thankful for.
It feels good to be a Golden Griffin. Canisius has placed much trust and responsibility in my hands. May God make that opportunity turn into much fruitful labor and bring the joy of Christ into the hearts of all the students and faculty and staff of this amazing Jesuit college. My Ignatian heart is overwhelmed with joy.
For now, many prayers of gratitude as we pray one of my favorite Ignatian prayers:
Take Lord, receive all my liberty,
My memory, my understanding, my entire will
Give me only your love and your grace,
That’s enough for me.