I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told to “follow my dreams.” That message seems to be everywhere in American society. As children, we’re told we can be anything we want. We can reach for the stars!
People send me news articles all the time. The rarely touch my heart as this piece did. It’s about a seriously ill 11-year-old boy, Brett Haubrich, whose lifelong wish came true. But Brett’s wish didn’t involve a dream vacation or meeting a famous celebrity. No – his wish involved being a priest for a day.
Nine years ago, 19-year-old Ester Paau arrived at the Convent at Nazareth near Punta Gorda, Belize to complete her high school education. Growing up in a remote indigenous village, she had no opportunity to pursue her dream of becoming a preschool teacher.
Msgr. Michael Patrick Aloysius Flanagan was the first Outreach Priest to join Cross Catholic Outreach in 2002. As one of the “Founding Fathers” in the ministry, he preached with great passion for the poorest of the poor, always making his appeals personal and deeply moving for those who heard him.
Several years ago, as I walked with Sr. Gina through the streets of Manila, she was leading a motley crew of street kids to a classroom, where she lovingly taught them. She’d borrowed the classroom from a local school; she’d obtained the curriculum from the Philippines government — and she’d recruited her students straight from the streets.
I had only known Sister Irene Claire Duval for 5 minutes when she told me about one of her biggest goals. “I want to wipe out high blood pressure and anemia in Viloux!” That’s when I knew this wasn’t going to be a typical interview.