Monday, August 25, 2014

The warmth of ice water

     This past Saturday in a neighboring town (Duquesne, PA) in a neighboring diocese (Pittsburgh) a great event took place.  Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Diocese came to Christ the Light of the World parish to support one of his priests and to join with the people of the parish and of the town in promoting a great cause.  The pastor there is Father Dennis Colamarino, a seminary classmate of mine who has served in Duquesne for 31 of his 41 years of priesthood.  Father Dennis, a vibrant priest and a true "character", was diagnosed about 15 months ago with ALS.  He is determined to continue as pastor and minister to these good people as long as God gives him ... and for that and for a multitude of other reasons, the people of the parish love him.

     The bishop came to celebrate a Mass with the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick administered to Father Dennis.  The Church was packed for the 11:00 am Mass with nearly 800 people, as reported by the news media.  Following the Mass, Father Dennis and the bishop proceeded across the street for what has become a most popular and successful fund raising effort this year for ALS - the ice bucket challenge. Accepting the challenge of another, you have a bucket of ice water poured over your head and in turn make a donation to ALS research.  The Duquesne parish has a team - Team Father Dennis - for an upcoming ALS walk in Pittsburgh on September 6th.  They had set a goal of $10,000 in pledges in honor of Father Dennis, and as of this morning were approaching $39,000 pledged or gifted.

     Bishop Zubik accepted the challenge, and seated opposite Father Dennis, had a bucket of ice water poured over his head with courage and enthusiasm before watching Father Dennis do the same.  The crowds cheered in appreciation and their respect for both men grew by leaps and bounds.  Not only parishioners attended, but I saw fire fighters and police and news media (all three local tv channels covered the event) in the pictures.  It was a great day and Dennis was deeply moved by the love and support of so many.

     I just dropped him a note to say that I donated to ALS research in his honor through the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City which uses adult stem cells for research rather than embryonic stem cells, which we, with our pro-life concerns, have a difficulty with.  They will designate any contribution so designated  for use in ALS research only.  If you would like to support ALS research, please do so through the ALS Association or through the JP II Medical Institute (540 East Jefferson Street, Suite 202, Iowa City, IA 52245).  I have included a few pictures from the parish (CLW) web page of the event.  These two pastors have warmed many hearts with their love and support, despite the cold water.

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