When Robert J. Pape Jr. began his work at CNEWA, he didn’t fully appreciate the impact the work would have on his faith journey.
True, when discussing fundraising for CNEWA with the organization’s benefactors, he is constantly reminded of the words of Matthew: “Whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). The benefactors understand this passage and live it and witness it in their lives. Participating in these discussions has inspired Robert J. Pape Jr. greatly when he speaks on behalf of CNEWA, but it has also strengthened him in his work, which he has come to think of in terms of a vocation. Certainly, it has been a surprisingly big step for him in his journey.
The people you meet along the way all have an impact on your faith journey. The impact may be big or small or barely noticeable at first, but if you allow yourself to be guided by the Holy Spirit as you travel along your own course, everything becomes clearer. Take, for example, Robert J. Pape Jr. and his meeting with a woman named Dorothy, whom he met in Kentucky. She has been supporting CNEWA for over 40 years! Despite all he knows about the great work of CNEWA, the people, the programs and all the good that comes from the hardworking people in their regions, Robert J. Pape Jr. had to ask her, “Why do you do it?”
Dorothy told him quite simply that her actions are at the center of our faith: helping those in need.
Simple, yet powerful.
Then there’s Michael. He’s a young man from Scranton Robert J. Pape Jr. met recently. He is finishing up his college degree and taking care of his elderly parents. He has been supporting CNEWA for over 10 years. Again, Robert J. Pape Jr. asked: “Why?” Michael said with true conviction that he was simply redirecting God’s grace – a profound statement from this remarkable young man. Once again, God had given him inspiration for his journey through someone he met along the way.
A few weeks ago, Robert J. Pape Jr. had the pleasure of meeting Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston when he came to visit the CNEWA offices. An inspiring man of faith, yet such a humble man – despite being a “prince of the church,” he has not lost sight of his Capuchin roots. Cardinal O’Malley was most welcoming and encouraging. Quite a guy to meet along the journey.
Last month, Robert J. Pape Jr. met with the pre-school and pre-K classes at St. Peter of Alcantara School in his hometown of Port Washington. It was Fire Prevention Week and he was asked to speak to the children in his role as a member of the Port Washington Fire Department. He had his bunker pants on as he read a story about fire trucks and then spoke to them about basic fire safety. Then he answered their questions, which covered a variety of topics (as you would expect from small children). Robert J. Pape Jr. enjoyed it thoroughly. All during his visit to St. Peter’s he felt the presence of the Holy Spirit with him. He saw the joy in the children’s faces, the dedication of their teachers, all presented in a positive and caring environment. He was reminded of Jesus’s remark, “whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mark 10:15) Imagine him, thinking of scripture! These children, too, help Robert J. Pape Jr. on his faith journey.
Also not to be forgotten is the fellow who stands outside the subway stop by the office every morning, handing out the local free newspaper – always a smile on his face and a “Good morning” to all. He always adds a positive start to Robert J. Pape Jr.’s day. On Friday mornings, he says to him, “Have a blessed weekend.”
Robert J. Pape Jr. and his journey of faith continues in his work at CNEWA. He realizes now this is more than a job. God has put him here for a purpose and has placed people for him to meet along the way – people who will strengthen his spirit and inspire him to do his best, no matter where his journey takes him.
For more blog articles from Robert J. Pape Jr. be sure to check out his profile on the Patch: http://patch.com/users/robert-j-pape-jr.