Giving It All Away…

When I was young I asked Jesus to come into my heart to live. I always went to Mass with my mom and dad every Sunday. My poppa knew that one day I would be a priest. I grew up knowing Jesus, learning all of the Bible stories and even memorize a few them! As I matured into adulthood, there was something missing in my heart. The peace I thought was supposed to be there wasn’t. I started seminary, but then left for the lure of the world and money. I tried to fill that void with spending lots of money, buying houses, fancy watches, and cars, sexual experience, alcohol, and friendships that were demeaning. It had gotten to a point, where I was emotionally out of control and felt I had nothing left inside. I finally ended up on the wrong side of a set of bars and knew that I needed to find my true path. It was not about money or fame, it was about something more.

One night, after losing everything except the love of my family, I realized how empty and out of control I was. I poured my heart out to the Blessed Mother and surrendered my life to God. I told God how I felt, and how I had messed things up, trying to do it my own way. I asked for forgiveness and promised God, that if I lived another day, every breath I took and every day I lived would belong to Him. I couldn’t do it my way anymore, so I had to let go and give God charge of my life. I wanted to go back to seminary, but was sure that it would never happen.

A year later, I sold everything and moved to Washington, DC and started a 12-year journey to the priesthood. I was ordained a transitional deacon with only three people invited because I though for sure the bishop would change his mind and not ordain me at the last minute! A year later, I was finally a priest. Today, I am a bishop and pastor of this wonderful parish. Has it been easy? No, quite possible it has been the hardest journey of my life, and…somehow, the most fulfilling.

I told myself I would never lose it all again, but this past week, I sold my home, moved into a 350 square foot RV, auctioned off my home furnishings downsized what was left, and with the support of my family, became a nomad again. Yes, I lost it all, again. Why? Because this parish, and our new building project, and the legacy it will leave behind for the next generation is worth any loss. You see, I have learned this simple truth, my happiness is found in you – those I share my life and ministry with – not in things that fade.

I lost it all twice in my life: once by me making foolish decisions, and now by my own faith in giving it all to a God of love and hope. I am happier than I have ever been.

I hope you will join me and sacrifice something. I am not asking for you to do what I have done, but we all can do something to pave the way to that which lasts beyond this life. Visit the building campaign site, make a pledge, and show the world what makes us so special.
In everything give thanks, even when you give it all away!