He is a most generous and giving human being. And not in a way that seeks to garner any credit for his good works. In those communities lucky enough to have experienced his presence from time to time, he is known as a living saint.
The exhortations of the New Testament clearly have been the guideposts of his life. “What you do for the least of my brethren, you do for me,” is, without question, the standard by which he has lived. “Blessed are the poor,” an unspoken mantra, communicated by example, day in, day out, over a long and full lifetime of giving.
His giving of himself has occurred in the poorest of our state’s communities, those places where hard times are always present. In the most trying of environments, where hope is easily lost, he has been a beacon of love and inspiration, leading in a quiet manner, unobtrusive yet most effective in creating a force for uplift and progress.
As a priest, he has chosen to occasionally bring his ministry of practicality to places far away, where repressive regimes have struck down men and women of the clergy who were working to alleviate the suffering of the downtrodden. At considerable risk to his own safety, he has selflessly given person-to-person help to the most needy of our planet.
Recently, as the years took their inevitable toll, he needed a transplant. One of his vital organs stopped functioning. Without a transplant, the life of this extraordinary man would abruptly end.
And now comes the beautiful part: a friend, a much younger man, one of many admirers of the priest, decided to be the organ donor. This donor was himself a most worthy acolyte of the priest. He had made a career of helping the poor and disadvantaged. He creates educational opportunities that forever break the cycle of poverty for the lucky students who attend his academy.
The donor’s special gift to all of us is the powerful example of the unheralded sharing of one’s self, a happy giving of the most important thing we might have.