November 25, 2014

New Horizons Breakfast

Each year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, New Horizons hosts a breakfast fundraiser at the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.  For the third year in a row, we were asked to help at the breakfast by helping with raffles and collecting pledges.  Nine Trinity students helped out and also enjoyed a nice breakfast together.

This annual breakfast is a who's-who of Manchester.  Sitting at the head table were Bishop McCormack, Gov. Hassan, Mayor Gatsas, U.S. Rep-elect Guinta, among others.

There were hundreds of people in attendance and we were treated to three wonderful speeches by a representative from Hannaford named Sherri Stevens (Hannaford donates a great deal of food to New Horizons), a woman who used to be a "client" of New Horizons (I didn't catch her name unfortunately), and Bo Chancey, the pastor of the Manchester Christian Church.  Rev. Chancey gave an absolutely brilliant talk on who is our neighbor?

There was quite an emotional moment when Stephen Singer of Merchants Auto told Charlie Sherman, the director of New Horizons, that he would pledge $10,000 to help pay off the greenhouse New Horizons just built but that others had to match it.  Right away, Mrs. Stevens from Hanford said they would match the donation!  Charlie Sherman was reduced to tears (as was I), it was very, very touching.

Last year this breakfast raised about $170,000 and I hope they blow that amount of the water this year.  We love New Horizons and are always happy to do whatever we can for them.  It wouldn't be Thanksgiving for me if I wasn't at this breakfast.

November 24, 2014

For Him...

More baskets are coming in but it looks like we will collect just under 450 Thanksgiving Baskets.  I counted them about a half hour ago and we were up to 443 with 3 more that came in after I counted.  Mrs. Henning, our communications director, took a number of pictures which you can see at our Facebook page here (you don't need a Facebook account to view them).

We had a friendly competition amongst the four classes and here are their totals:

Seniors: 128
Juniors: 88
Sophomores: 92
Freshmen: 73

We were also able to make 30 baskets from donations from Saint Joseph Regional Junior High School and faculty, former parents, and alums donated 32 baskets.

New this year too was a card in each basket with prayer that was composed by Mrs. Courter, Mrs. Lennan-Morf, and some students.  The prayer is:

We are thankful not only for the abundance of food but also for the abundance of love which has brought us together.

430 and counting...

The Monday before Thanksgiving is always the day we collect Thanksgiving Baskets to distribute to the food pantries at the Parish of the Transfiguration and Blessed Sacrament Parish, both here in Manchester.  We have been running this basket drive for 10 years or so and is always one of our most popular works of mercy efforts, even with former parents and alums.

We usually have the students drop the baskets off on the front lawn of our school but it was pouring this morning so they were brought to the gym.  I stood outside greeting and thanking everyone and in complete awe of the number of baskets that came in.  All told, between our students, the students at St. Joseph Regional Junior High School, faculty, and friends we have over 430 baskets sitting in our gym right now with some more yet to come.  I can never thank this community enough for all they do for the poor in our midst and as always on days like this, our morning prayer came from Matthew 25:

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. 
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink? 
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you? 
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

November 21, 2014

Best week ever

I love Thanksgiving.  It's all about food, football, family, 4-day weekend...and no presents to buy!  Since I've been in Campus Ministry, Thanksgiving is almost a full week long holiday for me.

The Monday of Thanksgiving is always the day we collect our Thanksgiving Baskets so I begin the morning greeting everyone outside as they drop them off.  Throughout the day, I love looking outside and seeing hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of baskets on our front lawn.  At 3pm, we caravan to the Parish of the Transfiguration and Blessed Sacrament Parish, the recipients of our baskets.  It's always so heartwarming to see the people who will volunteer to distribute the baskets the next day.

On Tuesday, I take group of students to the Radisson Hotel in Manchester to help out at the New Horizons Thanksgiving Breakfast.  This annual event raises over $100,000 for New Horizons and our students help out by selling raffle tickets, collecting donations, etc.  Everyone who is everyone in Manchester is at the breakfast and is a chance to see some old friends.

Finally on Wednesday we give thanks to our God as a school community with our Thanksgiving Mass.  Fr. Richard Dion will be our celebrant at Msgr. Anthony Fronterio, the chaplain of St. Joseph Regional Junior High School, will con-celebrate as the St. Joe's community will be joining us.

This triduum of sorts is such a great way to enter into Thanksgiving.  I can't believe I get paid to do this!

Their mite

Each year, St. Joseph Regional Junior High School helps us out with our Thanksgiving Basket Drive. I picked up the items today and they were able to donate enough items to make about 30 baskets.  They weren't able to donate everything but this will go a long way towards our goal!  I am so grateful to the students and teachers there for their support.  They will be joining us this year for our Thanksgiving Mass on Wednesday.

St. Christopher...pray for us

Periodically, I will go the last session of our Driver's Ed classes and offer a prayer for the students who are about to start driving.  I also present them with a St. Christopher medal as he is the patron saint of safe travel.  Yesterday was the last class of the most recent group so Mr. Healy '78, our driver's ed teacher, invited me in.  I said a few words about St. Christopher and read the following prayer:

Grant these students, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye, that no shall be hurt as they pass by.  You gave us life, we pray that no act of these students may take away or mar that gift of Yours.  Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear the company of these students from the evils of fire and calamity.  These them to use their cars for others need, nor miss through love of undue speed the beauty of this world, that thus they may with joy and courtesy go on their way.  St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers, protect these students, and lead them safely to their destinies.  

November 20, 2014

Friendship Dinner

Last week our principal Mr. Mailloux '72 (who turned the big 6-0 today) received an invitation to a dinner and awards ceremony for the Turkish Cultural Center here in Manchester.  One of the honorees was our good friend Charlie Sherman of New Horizons (as well as the governor, the president of Southern New Hampshire University, and a political reporter) and it seemed like an interesting event so he decided to attend.  He asked me and Mr. Connell '90, our development director, to come along as well.

The event was held last night at the Radisson Hotel on Elm Street and featured speakers focusing on Islam, Turkey, and ways in which communities could have a better understanding of one another.  The most moving part of the night was when John Foley, the father of James Foley, spoke of his son and his efforts to shine light on dark situations in the Middle East.  A well had been donated in Uganda in memory of James by one of the sponsors of the dinner and Mr. Foley "accepted" the gift on behalf of the family.  He said that a well was the ideal way to remember Jim as water gives life and is sustaining.

Following this, the award recipients were recognized and they each offered a few remarks.  Gov. Hassan spoke of how events such as these helped bring different communities together in friendship and fellowship and helped bridge divides and misunderstandings.  Charlie Sherman spoke of the work at New Horizons, President Paul LeBlanc of SNHU spoke of the role of education in bringing people together, and Kevin Landrigan talked about the power of the media.

All told, it was a lovely evening and a nice opportunity to hear about the great work being done by so many people in New Hampshire across all faiths and ways of life.