In many ways this is not your usual story because it starts with The End, goes backwards to Once Upon a Time, and comes back around to an altogether different ending ... which strangely enough becomes the new beginning.
The end of the story is this: in church this weekend I was sitting quietly before Mass feeling decidedly bleh.
A small betrayal, a closed door, and a missed opportunity left me wondering if anything we do -- anything at all -- truly makes a difference; that if trying is sometimes just not worth the effort; that maybe the good we think we're doing isn't doing any good at all.
The homilist for the Mass was a visiting priest who spoke about his work in the rural areas of Valdosta, GA. His name was Fr. Fredy Angel, and I didn't know him. I had never met him. I had never even heard of him. But then he mentioned how his parish was building a mission church to be named St. Anthony of Padua ... and just like that, I began working backwards.
In October 2014, Fr. Pablo Migone emailed me and asked if I could have my mom proofread a letter he had written in Italian, a letter from our Bishop Hartmayer to the priest in charge of the shrine of St. Anthony of Padova in Italy. The bishop was requesting a first class relic of St. Anthony for a new parish that was being built in our diocese: St. Anthony of Padua.
So you see, listening to Fr. Angel I realized that this was the priest, who was building a church, for which the bishop wanted a relic, so he had Fr. Pablo write a letter, which my mother proofread and I re-typed and emailed back to him, who later sent me a message from Padova, Italy saying that he and the bishop were there to retrieve the relic.
And in going back, I arrived at the beginning and realized that in this vast ocean of humanity, a little ripple can travel far. We do make a difference; it's always worth the effort; and sometimes we manage to do some good after all.