July 14, 2013

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God

This afternoon we got right into the swing of things at Lasallian Youth Assembly 2013.  The amazing Mr. Foley of Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School led all the kids in a bunch of fun icebreakers while the other moderators met to discuss the logistics of the week.  We then moved to the dining hall at 5pm for dinner and then had a little time to walk around campus.  As I said previously, Manhattan College's campus is pretty small but it has some beautiful old buildings.  Mass was celebrated at 7pm in the stunning DeLaSalle Chapel by Father Joseph Tierney, the president of Cardinal Hayes High School here in the Bronx.  The music was provided by two students from Saint Peter's Boy's High School  in Staten Island who sang beautifully.

A statue on campus
Father Tierney preached a wonderful homily based on this Sunday's gospel story of the Good Samaritan.  He reminded the students that they all have an opportunity to do what God wants them to do and to be Good Samaritans, without care for praise or acknowledgment of their work.  He then told a story that had the students captivated.

Father Tierney attended Saint Peter's Boy's High School (class of 1978) and was a member of the hockey team.  When he was 16 he got a job one block from his house at a local pharmacy.  One night a man was in the store who was acting somewhat suspiciously.  Father Tierney asked him a few times if he could help him and the man would just turn away.  Father Tierney went over to chat with the pharmacist and just then the man put a bandana over his mouth and took out a sawed off shotgun and had Father Tierney and the pharmacist put their hands up telling them it was a hold-up.  The man then walked over next to Father Tierney and as Father Tierney turned his head to say something to the pharmacist, he heard a huge blast that sent him across the room.  He looked down and part of his right arm had been blown off by the gun.  The man demanded money and drugs and ran off.

As Father Tierney laid there a man who had been in the store when this happened came up to him and told him to lay down.  He asked Father Tierney what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to pray.  So they laid there and prayed the Hail Mary and within a few minutes an ambulance arrived and took Father Tierney to the hospital.  He had 11 surgeries and was in the hospital for 2 months but they were able to fix his arm.  You can tell by looking at it that it has been reconstructed although I didn't even notice until he mentioned it.
Behind the altar in the chapel
While he was in the hospital he kept on asking about the man who helped him and prayed with him but no one ever saw him and knew who he was talking about.  Father Tierney said that man, that Good Samaritan, helped bring him to God that night and was indeed a guardian angel that God had sent to Father Tierney.

It was an amazing story and I am not giving it justice.  But the kids were spellbound and, as kids do, totally got it.  He then told the kids to go and do the same.


Following Mass we met with our service groups.  Each of us is going to a site to assist with Hurricane Sandy clean-up.  I am taking a group of students to Oceanside, NY which is on Long Island.  Mrs. Photiades is coming with me and the other students are going to:

Kasie Bourque: New Jersey Food Bank on Monday, Long Beach, NY the other two days
Jessie Charon: Bethpage, NY
Bryan Dufour: Bethpage, NY
Kerra Photiades: Staten Island
Michael Toomey: Long Beach, NY

The night ended, as each night does, with a social.  We are all now tucked away and ready for our first full day tomorrow.  Here we go...

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