Thursday, May 31, 2007

Give Back

The Anchoress noted: Greg Kandra wrote after 9/11, I realized with a blinding clarity that the tidy life I’d established for myself could vanish at any moment. Then, one day, on the way back from picking up bagels, I passed a homeless guy on the subway, begging for money. I offered him a fresh bagel. He thanked me with so much enthusiasm, you’d have thought I’d given him a fresh cut of sirloin. When my train came, I looked over my shoulder to see where he’d gone. And there he was, at the end of the platform: he’d broken his bagel in half and was sharing it with another homeless man.

This withered old man who had next to nothing gave half of what he had to someone who had even less. Deep in the recesses of my Catholic memory, something stirred. “And they knew him in the breaking of the bread.” Something began to speak to me.

I realized: I’d been given much. What could I give back?

Greg Kandra decided to become a a Permanent Deacon for the Diocese of Brooklyn, serving at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Church in Forest Hills, New York. (Deacons are married, and they have jobs outside the church. They are part of the Catholic clergy, and receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. They preside at weddings, baptisms and funerals, and can proclaim the gospel at mass and preach.)

You may not be able to become a Deacon, but what are you doing for others. I am disabled, and unable to leave the house without help, yet I, together with the help of a number of volunteers, refurbish computers to be donated to schools, churches, and non-profit agencies with a ministry I started called HelpingTulsa.

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