Re-igniting the Faith, by Paul O’Brien

From the beginning at Samaritan Hospital in Troy

to this moment standing here today at St. Kat’s

I have been blessed.

I have been blessed with models

that have given me hope,

that have provided light on the journey.

My parents, especially my mother —

who instilled the importance of Faith early

through prayer, commitment to the Sacraments,

and teaching us about the Saints,

which included many summer trips to Auriesville

to walk the same grounds as did St. Kateri and St. Isaac Jogues.

I have been blessed with a Brother

who served as a mentor to me in challenging early days

and who instilled in me an example

of what it means to be dedicated and committed

to the priesthood.

To this day, I am overwhelmed

by the fact that my brother, crippled by neuropathy and arthritis

— at 88 years of age — finds a way with the help of good people

to get to St. Vincent’s Church so that he can say Mass

and bring the Word of the Lord to the people of his parish.


I have been blessed with a wonderful wife and companion,

Debbie, who has been for me a source of strength, wisdom,

and spiritual growth.

Deborah — who grew up in St. Helen’s and went to St. Helen’s School

from Kindergarten to Eighth Grade — has spoken

of how well the school reinforced the Faith

she first learned from her parents.

She was always St.. Helen in the School Procession of the Saints.

She made her first Communion at St. Helen’s and was confirmed at St. Helen’s.

She sees it as a blessing that new generations have the opportunity

to experience in our parish school

what she experienced.


We both see this parish as a vital presence on our faith journey.

It offers us community — we love our little parish of people

we sit near in Church — and when someone is missing we feel it.

I often have the opportunity to travel with Debbie

when she brings Communion to those who can’t make

it to St. Kateri’s

and I watch how much her presence as a Eucharistic Minister

means to those she is bringing the Lord to.


In so many vital ways —

from bringing communion to the homebound

to reaching out to the poor

to consoling those who have lost someone

to providing religious education for our youth —

Our parish is doing the work of the Lord.


And so I want to add St. Kateri’s as one of those

models that has given me hope.


As Debbie says, “You can always tell people who

are struggling with the Church to come to St. Kat’s

… where you have a community with a wonderful spirit,

and a priest who clearly loves being a priest

and loves people.

And you always know when he’s arrived for Mass

because you hear his joyful laugh.”


Yes, St. Kateri’s is a pretty special place

and we can help make it even better

by our commitment and our generosity.

We can make our worship and gathering spaces

more appealing and more welcoming;

we can make our school an even more vibrant

witness of Christ-centered learning;

and we can do so much more.

By re-igniting our parish we can become

a model and a beaming light for other parishes in our Diocese.


Yes, I am blessed to be part of St. Kateri’s,

and Debbie and I are happy to be participating in

St. Kateri’s Re-igniting our Faith Program.


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