Fr. Peter Daly
This is the awards season. Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Image Awards, Country Music Awards. Most of them not really all that memorable in the long run, despite their hype.
Perhaps we in the church should give out awards. Not for performances, but for real life.
There would be no shortage of nominees. There is so much grace around in real life it is amazing. In fact, that is what we could call them, the "Amazing Grace" awards.
The arrival of Easter is a good time to celebrate the harvest of grace from Lent. So here are my own personal nominees for the "Amazing Grace" awards. They are all real people.
And the nominees are ---
The several young mothers who get their little toddlers up and dressed and bring them to daily mass.
The husband who stays resolutely at the bedside of his wife of 57 years and holds her hand as she lies dying.
The young man who works in a fast paced information technology job, who starts the day with the liturgy of the hours at his desk .
The father of six children who stops by the church on his way home from work to pray for his family.
The three teenage boys who spent hundreds of hours putting together a web site for our parish youth group. They dedicated it to five teenagers killed in auto accidents in our county this year and included a prayer list and a "hot link" to a biographies of the saints so our confirmation class could use the information in picking their names.
The adult leaders who give their Wednesday evenings to working with teenagers who are not even their own children, just because they love kids despite their baggy pants and pierced body parts.
The single young people in our parish who persevere in chastity.
The retired business man who devotes his time and the money from the sale of his business to the needs of youth, setting up youth centers for the arts and athletics throughout our area.
A retired nurse who volunteers her time and effort to hospice work, taking care of the dying.
The young lawyer in our parish who devotes his lunch hours to teaching illiterate adults to read.
The doctor and nurse, husband and wife team, who take time out of a busy medical practice twice each month to cook meals for the area homeless shelter and their three teenage sons who help them deliver the meals.
The retired airline mechanic who devotes full time to taking care of the homeless, despite the fact that he is struggling with his own cancer. Also nominated as co-stars should be the over one hundred people who volunteer to keep the shelter going, many of them retired.
The social workers for Catholic Charities who distribute food, medicine, clothing and sympathy to hundreds of people every day for very little pay and no recognition.
The women who volunteer a few hours each week to teach English to the migrant workers in our area and the young Spanish speaking mother who translates for the same migrant workers, to lessen their isolation and help them with their many problems.
The Knights of Columbus who spend their Saturdays at the state university football and basketball games, manning the concession stands and giving all the proceeds to charity.
A bedridden man at the nursing home who told me he uses his time praying for priests.
The team of our RCIA program who prepare their talks each week to bring more people to know the love of Christ.
The young women who volunteer at the neighborhood crisis pregnancy center and who save lives every week.
And the winner is: All the rest of us.
My parish is not unique. Any pastor could make a similar list. Perhaps we all should. There is so much goodness and grace, it is truly amazing. These are the real award winners.