MOB: December, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | December, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Dec 2)

Photo – Public Domain

A natural Christmas Tree, lit by a nearby home,
stands tall in the snow in New England

MOB: November, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | November, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Nov 2)

Photo by Urie Belegurschi

Early winter hiking at the Crystal Cave
along Skaftafell, Iceland’s many glaciers

MOB: October, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | October, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Oct)

Photo by Cain Pascoe

Abandoned church, covered in autumn leaves,
just outside Armidale, Australia

MOB: September, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | September, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Sep)

Photo – Public Domain

Remaining stairs of the historic Madame Sherri Castle Ruins,
located in the southwest corner of New Hampshire

FYC: A Mini-Home Away From Home

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For Your Consideration | August 27, 2014

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One of ten shelters on wheels built by Gregory Kloehn and the Homeless Homes Project in Oakland, California

Welcome back! It’s the final week of our summer series! Which means that today marks the official end of our 2014 “For Your Consideration” offerings. We hope that you’ve enjoyed them – learned from them, pondered them – and will join us again in the upcoming months for other thought provoking mini series. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. But before we conclude…

We end this journey where it all begins – once again, with homes. This time, it covers it all: It involves recycling! It involves mini-homes! It is the most Portland-ey possible approach (albeit created by our California neighbors to the south) to ensuring that everyone on the margins of society has someplace safe to sleep.

Gregory Kloehn, an artist based in Oakland, CA is using his creative know-how to make cozy, colorful homes on wheels for those that need someplace safe and warm to sleep at night. Kloehn explains: “Each home is made from items found on the street, pallets, doors, refrigerator parts, paint, etc…. The only cost to me is screws, nails, glue and the gas it takes me to drive around Oakland and find the stuff on the street. I guesstimate each home to to cost $30-$50.” Kloehn tackles each mini-home with a team of volunteers. The homes are then delivered to their new owners, often times with a bottle of bubbly (the non-alcoholic variety is available) for a traditional housewarming.

On their website, the team describes their work as “an asymmetrical approach to modern living where collective ideas, good will, and basic construction skills unite to repurpose the abundance of everyday garbage into viable living spaces.” ……Does it get any better than that?

Read the full article HERE.

Learn more about the Homeless Homes Project HERE.

MOB: August, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | August, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Aug)

Photo by Rex USA

Late summer clouds climb the 2,800m sides
of Mount Roraima in Venezuela’s Pakaraima Mountains

FYC: Rethink Homelessness

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For Your Consideration | July 30, 2014

FB - Rethink Logo

The “Cardboard Stories” media project is changing the way we think about homelessness.

Welcome back to our summer series of dignified and considerate ways that we think about issues of homelessness, poverty, mental illness, addiction, and isolation. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly.

And speaking of thinking… how about we REthink a few things here. This week, we take a look at an incredible media project from Impact Homelessness that is aptly named “Rethink Homelessness.”

Those suffering on the margins of society in Orlando, FL are getting a chance to shine just a bit brighter this summer. With pen and cardboard sign in hand, they are sharing some of their most interesting lifetime facts and astounding accomplishments:

“I speak four languages.”

“I’ve built robots.”

“I have a degree in biology from West Virginia University.”

Impact Homelessness believes its message of compassion and understanding can prompt positive change. “Since the recession began, the face of homelessness has been changing. From school children to the elderly, from the barely employed to the victims of abuse … homelessness can affect anyone … unless we all come together to make a difference.”

Read the full article & watch the powerful media project HERE.

FYC: Housing First

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For Your Consideration | July 23, 2014

WEB - Housing First

Yup, it’s that simple.

Welcome back to our summer series, taking a look at dignified and *considerate* ways that we can help alleviate homelessness. And don’t forget to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

Today’s post takes us right back to the root of many of our nation’s homeless issues, that is: housing. “Housing First” is a model of quick housing intervention that has been around since the late 80’s, however few states have used it as successfully as Utah…

And here’s why:

In 2005, Utah figured out that the annual cost of E.R. visits and jail stays for homeless people was about $16,670 per person, compared to $11,000 to provide each homeless person with an apartment and a social worker. So, the state began giving away apartments, with no strings attached. And the result? In eight years, Utah has quietly reduced homelessness by 78%, and is on track to end homelessness by 2015. Yup, that’s right, next year! It certainly seems that we could all learn a little something from the simplest of approaches. Ahhhhh, home sweet home, indeed.

Read the full article HERE.

FYC: A Home Amongst Coats

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For Your Consideration | July 16, 2014

WEB - Empowerment

Founder Veronika Scott hands out their Sleeping Bag Coats in Detroit

Welcome back to our series highlighting the considerate ways in which we engage those that suffer on the margins of society. Want to leave your own comments or considerations? Visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

This week we are looking at something pretty ingenious! And while it may not be cold enough for everyone to need a warm sleeping bag, these folks are getting ready – and creative! – for the winter months ahead…

Stephen Schock, a teacher at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, challenged his class to create a product that filled a need, rather than satisfying or creating a fad. Fashion student Veronika Scott took up the challenge and designed a coat that could transform into a sleeping bag for those experiencing homelessness. Not only did her design win a 2011 International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, it’s now become the core of Veronika’s nonprofit organization, The Empowerment Plan, which has gone one step further to ensure the support of those on the margins by hiring people from homeless shelters and transition homes to help her make the coats. In the end, the mission is simple: To create jobs for those who desire them, and to provide coats at no cost for those who need them.

It’s a coat! It’s a sleeping bag! It’s… considerate.

Learn more about the Empowerment Plan HERE.

FYC: Signs of Awareness

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For Your Consideration | July 9, 2014

FB - Homeless Signs

Artist Willie Baronet standing before his installation of homeless signs, Dallas

Welcome back to our series highlighting the considerate ways in which we engage those that suffer on the margins of society. Be sure to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

All the recent talk about our upcoming “Art With Heart” showcase – and the potential of art to not only give voice to our guests, but to also raise awareness – has got us thinking…

Today’s post for consideration introduces us to artist Willie Baronet of Dallas. Strewn on the floor of his gallery are cardboard pieces of artwork in a hopscotch form. Visitors skip their way down the squares… “Anything Will Help” “Out of Work” “Stranded & Hungry”… Baronet explains, “There is a moment when they realize they’re stepping on a homeless sign, and they have this visceral reaction. The symbolism of that to me is profound. I believe we all sometimes step on the homeless metaphorically without meaning to…. I find it odd that somebody would think that stepping on a piece of cardboard on a gallery floor is a big deal when they might be willing to ignore a person day after day.”

In considering this, one of our Saint André Bessette staff team members recounted, “The first time my mom visited me while I was studying abroad, I remember passing a homeless person holding a sign. It read: J’ai Faim. My mom, who cannot pass someone in need without helping out, asked me what the sign said. I was hesitant to tell her… but finally, I translated: I’m hungry. She teared up and pulled some cash from her pocket, completely disregarding any exchange rate at the time – it was probably $20 or $30. That sign meant something to her. I think these signs should really mean something to everyone.”

Baronet purchases signs from those in need. He estimates that he has spent nearly $7,000 on signs in his local area over the last two decades. Next up? Baronet is currently planning cross-country travels to buy even more signs and hopefully raise awareness nationwide.

Have Art. Will Travel.

Read the full article on Yahoo News HERE.

FYC: Just Say Hello

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For Your Consideration | July 2, 2014

WEB - Just Say Hellpo

Photos and bios of those folks you might meet with just a “hello”

Hello! Hi! Howdy! And welcome back to our summer series looking at considerate ways in which we engage those that suffer on the margins of society. And today’s is perhaps the most basic form of engagement of all…

The simple act of saying HELLO: Facing Homelessness is an organization out of Seattle, WA that is committed to “building a new awareness about our relationship to homeless.” Their campaign, “Just Say Hello,” encourages others to consider their own interactions with those on the margins of society: “We can begin by simply acknowledging those suffering, trusting that we are all the same, all wanting to love and be loved. When we take the time to listen to another person’s journey, we begin the process of turning a stranger into a friend and opening our compassion for another human being.”

Who did you pass on the street today? Did you say hello? Get out there and do some talking!

Learn more about the “Just Say Hello” campaign, as well sa viewing an incredible gallery of images and biographies HERE.

…And don’t forget to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

MOB: July, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | July, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Jul)

Photo by National Geographic China

A diver explores the underwater city of Shicheng China,
flooded in 1959 to create the Qiandao Lake for the Xin’an River Dam project

FYC: All Bottled Up

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For Your Consideration | June 25, 2014

FB - Homeless Signs

Artist Willie Baronet standing before his installation of homeless signs, Dallas

Welcome to the third entry in our Summer-long series that looks at creative and *considerate* ways that people around the world are tackling issues related to homelessness, poverty, mental illness, addiction, and isolation. Be sure to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

Today’s offering looks at the most basic issue of homelessness – that is, the state of being without a home. The Mind Unleashed, a digital platform that curates cutting edge articles and ideas, reported on a fast-growing, worldwide practice that would not only create more homes, but would also eliminate a whole bunch of waste… bottle homes! “Did you know that you can make houses out of plastic bottles? By filling them with sand, and molding them together with mud or cement, the walls created are actually bullet proof, fire proof, and will maintain a comfortable indoor temperature of 64 degrees in the summer time.”

As one of our own staff team members points out, “Bottle homes, sheds, fences – whatever! – were pretty common in our travels around Africa in the Peace Corps… and that was in 2010-2011! Good ol’ Coke might be a bit of luxury item in villages without water, but they sure did get creative with reusing those bottles!”

It is estimated that the U.S. throws away nearly 130 million plastic bottles EVERY DAY. A 1200 square foot home can be constructed with roughly 14,000 bottles. You do the math. All those sodas could be life changing one day…

Read the entire Mind Unleashed article HERE.

FYC: A Helping of Humanization

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For Your Consideration | June 18, 2014

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Narayanan Krishnan shopping for food supplies in Madurai, India

Welcome to the second in our series to highlight the considerate ways in which we engage those that suffer on the margins of society. Be sure to visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

Today, we take a look at some creative & considerate approaches to hunger. So grab a cup of coffee, share your table with a friend, and read on…

It is estimated that an astounding 842 million people around the world will not have enough to eat today. And yet, the simply act of sharing food with one another can be one of the most humanizing of all – as long as there is food to share. The über-inventive folks below followed through on some pretty incredible acts:

We start in India, where Narayanan Krishnan an award-winning chef on his way to a new job in Switzerland, was taken back by what he saw in the streets around him: mental illness, homelessness, extreme poverty, hunger… destitution. With an incredible desire to serve, he took his culinary skills to a whole new arena. And now, just over 10 years later, he has served up over 1.2 million meals. Read Narayanan’s story on CNN’s “Heroes” Series HERE.

Back home, a similar desire to serve brought together two unlikely partners: internet-prankster Greg Benson and “Prank it Fwd”. The duo surprised the entirely unsuspecting meal-time guests of Ascencia Homeless Shelter by transforming their hospitality center into a five-star restaurant. The endeavor brings out smiles and tears alike, with a truly dignifying effect on everyone there. Watch the whole thing play out HERE.

Community Corner: Noelle Niedo

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Community Corner


Noelle Frances Garcia Niedo
Immersion Coordinator | August, 2013 – Present


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Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Ili’ili, American Samoa

Other Places Lived: Portland, OR

Academic & Professional Background:

  • 2013 | B.S. Biology | University of Portland | Portland, OR
  • 2013 | Thomas A. Gerhardt Memorial Award for Outstanding Student Leadership

Describe a typical day in the life of the Immersion Coordinator:
In the morning, I prepare the kitchen and set up the Hospitality Center for volunteers and guests. During Morning Hospitality, I help ensure that the program runs smoothly and also work one-on-one with guests that need special resources. In the afternoon, I schedule and plan immersions and attend staff meetings. On Saturdays, I run Saturday Morning Hospitality, eat pancakes, and facilitate day immersions for groups interested in learning about urban poverty issues and social justice.

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
I love greeting people by name and getting to know our guests and volunteers personally. I love being at a place where each person is truly valued.

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Musical Artist:
Of Monsters and Men

Favorite Book:
Tattoos on the Heart, by  Greg Boyle

Favorite Quote:
“If what you did yesterday still looks big to you, then you haven’t done much today.”

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

Who would you call a hero or inspiration in your life?
My parents. They have taught me the value of hard work, importance of community, and always encourage me to pursue my dreams.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?
Thimbles from each place I travel. I currently have 56. A handful of them are from family and friends who gave them to me as gifts after they have traveled.

What is the most inspiration moment you have ever experienced and why?
During a World Youth Day event in Spain, I, along with a group of friends from my university, met a group of people from Iraq who also was at the event representing their country. We bonded over that fact that we were all anxiously waiting in the hot sun for the Pope to arrive. We exchanged gifts from our respective countries and took a lot of group pictures holding the US and Iraq flags side by side. It was awesome to look back at that moment and realize that it didn’t matter that we came from countries that were at war with each other. We were there to celebrate the same faith we shared and that was all that mattered.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Jam with my friends on the piano, guitar, ukulele, or kazoo.

What are the top three things on your “Bucket List” for life?
1. Visit Asia and Africa – then I will have visited each continent (minus Antarctica).
2. Get scuba certified.
3. Hot air balloon over India.

And just for laughs and pondering…

Ninjas or Pirates?
Ninjas. They’d beat Pirates at a game of Ping Pong any day.

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
The power to pause time so that I could do all the things that I never have enough time for and still have enough time to sleep.

What is the most important part of a sandwich? Please elaborate.
The meat. As a Filipina, a meal is not complete without meat.

And finally, before we conclude…

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Being at St. Andre’s has taught me that service is more than doing for others – it is about being with others.

FYC: Dignity on the Seine

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For Your Consideration | June 11, 2014

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The Beatueau L’Adamant along the Seine, Paris

Welcome to the first in our series to highlight the considerate ways in which we engage those that suffer on the margins of society. Have something to share? Email us directly at HERE or visit our Facebook Page to reply to the series posts directly. Enjoy!

We begin in Paris: National Geographic’s May 2014 edition introduced us to two centers that take the fluidity of life to a whole new level – that is, floating along the Seine – let’s dive in:

The Fleuron St. Jean, is a light green boat that doubles as a hospitality center of sorts, moored along the Seine on the outskirts of Paris. Every night at 6:30pm, the barge invites dozens of men (and their canine companions!) on board for a one-night voyage that does not entail travel – rather, a warm meal and a comfortable bed. “We call them passengers out of respect,” says Adrien Casseron, manager of the floating homeless shelter that is funded by the Ordre de Malte. Casseron explains, “The passengers leave their worries at the dock. This boat is a symbolic escape that allows them to dream, perhaps to hope…”

In 2010, the Beatueau L’Adamant, a floating barge with walls of glass, was completed to welcome its first mentally ill clients. Patients come for coffee, a snack, to confer with the medical staff, create art, or simply enjoy the view. “From the first day aggression evaporated. Why? No one can explain,” clinic director Jean-Paul Hazan says. “These are very sick patients, but there has been no violence.” He pauses. “I think it has changed us too, but I can’t say how.” It also seems to have metaphorically blurred the boundary between the marginalized mentally ill and the presumably normal. “Simply put, we are all in the same boat here.”

Read the full National Geographic Article, “Love and Loss on the SeineHERE.

MOB: June, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | June, 2014

Plitvice Waterfalls

Photo by Jack Brauer

Summer begins at Plitvice Falls in the Lakes National Park,
located in the Lika-Senj County of Croatia

Community Corner: Becca Chavez

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Community Corner


Becca L. Chavez
Evening Hospitality Coordinator | August, 2013 – Present


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Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Santa Clara, CA

Other Places Lived: The Philippines; Granada, Spain; Santiago, Chile; Portland, OR

Academic & Professional Background:

  • 2013 | B.A. Social Work & Spanish | University of Portland | Portland, OR
  • 2012 – 2013 | Pregnancy Support & Adoption Services Program, BSW Intern | Catholic Charities Pregnancy Support & Adoption Services Program | Portland, OR
  • Summer 2012 | IES Program | Santiago, Chile
  • 2011 – 2013 | Campus Volunteer Coordinator |  Moreau Center for Service & Leadership, University of Portland | Portland, OR
  • Fall 2010 | Study Abroad, Diploma de Espanol como Lengua Extranjera | Instituto de Cervantes | Granada, Spain
  • 2009 – 2013 | Student Diversity Coordinator, Excel Math Tutor, Spanish Tutor | University of Portland | Portland, OR

Describe a typical day in the life of the Evening Hospitality Coordinator:
Mondays through Wednesdays, I spend my time working during Morning Hospitality, answering emails, connecting with different Evening Hospitality sponsor groups, and chatting with my co-workers and volunteers. On Thursdays and Fridays I spend the afternoons organzing and preparing the hospitality center for the Evening Hospitality program. During the evenings, I supervise volunteers and welcome guests for a sit-down style dinner.

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
My favorite part is creating and foserting relationships. The relationships that I made here as a volunteer is what prompted me to apply for this job. I consider this community my friends and my family.

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Musician:
I have several favorite artists but it’s probably a tie between Anarbor and Nirvana.

Favorite Book:
The Collector, by  John Fowles

Favorite Quote:
“Don’t postpone joy.” –Elaine Joy Aton De la Cruz. It’s the most well known quote that my cousin used to say. She was an amazing poet and when she died in a car crash, it became our family motto.

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

What is the most inspirational place you have every been and why?
It’s a tie between El Salvador and St. Andre. I would probably have to say El Salvador though because it is where I decided to become a social worker and fight along side those who society pushes to its margins. It’s a country that suffered a twelve-year civil war during which the government fought and killed its own townspeople. I’ve never visited a place with so much hope, faith and love.

If you could change your name to anything, what would you change it to?
Marichuy. It’s a nickname for Maria Jesus. I’ve always wanted a “Maria” name because it’s very traditionally Latina and people always doubt that I’m actually Latina. Plus, it sounds like Chewbacca from Star Wars.

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be when you grow up?
When I was a child my dream was to become a principle dancer for the American Ballet Theatre. Now, when I grow up I want to be an international community organizer. I want to be a social worker who responds to the needs of different communites and  travels to another town or country every couple of years.

What was the most profound spiritual moment in  your life?
There was this one priest at my university who had heard my entire life story, the fabulously good and the painful bad. He gave a wonderful homily in which he stated, “God loves you not despite who you are, but because of who you are.” When I went to confession with him later, he explained how he had shared that idea during his homily with me and my story in mind. I think it’s a great quote and a great concept. I tell it to myself almost every day.

And just for laughs and pondering…

Ninjas or Pirates?
Pirates. Captain Jack Sparrow. Done.

Do you think Elvis is really dead?
Yes, because if he wasn’t, him and I would be dating.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Johnny Depp in drag. I have yet to encounter an individual who looks like me. I’m not saying the closest thing would be Johnny Depp, but why wouldn’t you want Johnny Depp to act as you?

What’s your life goal?
To naturally grow facial hair and pet a cow.

And finally, before we conclude…

Any words of wisdom to pass along to the rest of us?
Do what inspires you and hope for the extraordinary.

MOB: May, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | May, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (May)

Photo by SoulAD

A late spring walk through the Wisteria Tunnel
at Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu, Japan

MOB: April, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | April, 2014

ENEW - MOB (Apr)

Photo by T-C

Spring Morning along the abandoned railway of Jiancing
in Taiwan’s Taipingshan National Forest

Community Corner: Jess Aleksy

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Community Corner


Jessica E.M. Aleksy
Director of Marketing & Development | January, 2012 – Present


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Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Cape Cod, MA

Other Places Lived: Providence, RI; Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Paris, France; Chicago, IL; Mpumalanga, South Africa

Academic & Professional Background:

  • 2005 | International Certificate in French & Political Science, concentration in International Relations | Sorbonne University | Paris, France
  • 2006 | B.A. in French & Political Science, concentration in Development of Western Civilization | Providence College | Providence, RI
  • 2007-2008 | Graduate Development Intern & Membership Secretary | Boys & Girls Club of America | Bloomington, IL
  • 2008-2009 | Research Intern & Homeless Count Coordinator | Alliance to End Homelessness | Chicago, IL
  • 2009 | M.S. in Political Science, concentration in Sustainable Community & Economic Development | Illinois State University | Bloomington, IL
  • 2009-2011 | NGO Development & HIV/AIDS Outreach Volunteer | U.S. Peace Corps | Mpumalanga, South Africa

Describe a typical day in the life of the Marketing & Development Director:
The primary focus of my work is on donor stewardship and sustainable development – which includes both annual and restricted fundraising, as well as marketing. Now that The Open Doors Campaign is completed (yaaaaay!!), I have shifted my focus to the more than one dozen annual giving programs that we have created to help supplement the completion of campaign gift payments. In terms of marketing, I spend a good portion of each day on our online & print communications, social networking & branding, and physical marketing materials. Finally, I am always looking for new ways to build our organization’s effectiveness through leadership development, partnership creation, community collaboration, and internal evaluation and capacity building. All of these account for a stronger development foundation, focused on best practices, ethical & transparent processes, and long-term sustainability.

What other professional pursuits do you have?
As with most development professionals, a large amount of my time outside of work is spent on professional pursuits that  help to strengthen our community’s work. In addition to professional association memberships, I also serve as Facilitator of the PDX Development Roundtable, Marketing Chair for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Portland, Co-Chair of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Certification Committee, and Member of the Willamette Valley Development Officers Steering Committee for MicroMentorship, as well as serving as a speaker on Generational Giving and Millennial Engagement at Portland State University and other local community groups. 2013 was also an incredibly exciting year, as I was accepted to test for the Certified Fundraising Executives Exam, as well as being honored with Portland’s Starbright Award for Development!

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
While being the first Development professional at Saint André Bessette has its challenges (the trials and tribulations of start-up offices & first campaigns), it also allows for an immense amount of freedom to pursue areas of opportunity. Every day at work provides new avenues for development – of organization policies & procedures, of creative outlets for marketing, and of course, of sustainable sources of funding and support – so I am never bored!

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Quote:
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” by Sir Winston Churchill – It’s on every one of my email signatures. I remember reading this quote for the first time in college and wondering why so many people worked only to get by… and not to give back. This quote probably had a bit to do with becoming a nonprofit development professional.

What do you love most about Portland?
You mean aside from the Unicycling Darth Vader Bagpiper and Happy Hours?? Hmmm… well, one of the reasons my husband and I chose this city was because of its reputation for placing a real importance on sustainability and meaningful interaction – in other words, not only would the Happy Hour food be amazing because it comes from a farmer 35 minutes away, but you can also stop to talk to the Unicycling Darth Vader Bagpiper and he’ll likely be happy to chat! But seriously, Portland has a definite passion or taking things a bit slower, enjoying life, and remembering what’s really important – and that’s really important to me.

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

Who would you consider an inspiration in your life?
My parents – they are very different people that have been through a lot of life together and are still happily and successfully married. From my dad I get my academic passion and sense of wanderlust: he has taught me a lot about being a good student and professional, but taking time to explore the world, its people and its cultures, and hold on tightly to my dreams. From my mom I get my empathy and my passion: she has taught me how to care for fellow human beings, to give back through my talents, to remain idealistic and to follow my heart in everything that I do. My parents put me on the path to where I am today and inspired me to keep moving forward. I couldn’t have done any of this without them in my lives.

What 3 things would you bring if you were going to be stranded on a deserted island?
A pocket knife, a cast-iron skillet, and my husband… he can do just about anything with a pocket knife & cast-iron skillet!

Is there one moment in your life that you consider a turning point? If so, why?
Travelling around parts of Cambodia was one of the most difficult things I have ever done – the abject poverty and obvious suffering was so apparent and constant. Finding a middle ground in that experience to enjoy the beautiful landscape and people around me while also feeling that my presence could offer some help – some hope – is what made me realize that I could succeed in this field. Shortly thereafter I completed my Masters, joined the Peace Corps with my husband, and have continued my development work with both national and international at-risk populations.

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
You mean after donating a portion to a really great cause, such as St. André Bessette Catholic Church?? *wink* But honestly, with the remainder, I would want to buy houses and huts all over the world so that I could travel anywhere for the rest of my life and always be “at home”.

And just for laughs and pondering…

Ninjas or Pirates?
Ninjas. Obviously. Is that even a question?

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Summer Glau – she’s direct and gets things done… and she’s just a bit “off”.

And finally, before we conclude…

Any words of wisdom to pass along to the rest of us?
Enjoy the journey… the destination will find you.

MOB: March, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | March, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Mar)

Photo – Public Domain

Early spring shot of Moraine Lake in Banff National Bark,
located in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Alberta, Canada

Community Corner: Kyle Eilenfeldt

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Community Corner


Kyle Mark Eilenfeldt
Front Office Manager | July, 2013 – Present


Portland Japanese Garden    agape    100_3287

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Born in Chicago, Illinois; raised in Dallas, Texas

Other Places Lived: An American Nomad, having lived also in Omaha, Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, and Indiana

Academic & Professional Background:

  • BA in English Literature from Creighton University
  • MA in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College

Describe a typical day in the life of the Front Office Manager:
Facilitating the Morning Hospitality in various capacities, working the desk in the afternoons meeting with guests, as well as doing behind the scenes work on programs.

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
The little acts of gratitude that staff, volunteers, and guests show to one another each and every day.

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Book:
Mother Night, by Kurt Vonnegut

Favorite Quote:
“Above all, trust in the slow work of God.” -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Favorite Place in Portland:
Oregon Historical Society

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

What is the most inspirational place you have ever been and why?
Coole Park, Ireland. So calming and an affirmation of my love for literature.

What 3 things would you bring if you were going to be stranded on a deserted island?
A hammock, a mirror, and a shovel.

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Start a non-profit urban organic farm.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?
Baseball bobbleheads. Most prized: former Cy Young Winner Justin Verlander in his high school uniform.

What are the top three things on your “Bucket List” for life?
Visit every U.S. state (currently at 42!), attend a World Cup match and a game at every North American baseball stadium, including the minors.

And just for laughs and pondering…

Do you think Elvis is really dead?
No. He’s alive and well in every soul that appreciates good music.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Topher Grace.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
Sliced buffalo.

And finally, before we conclude…

What was the most profound spiritual moment of your life?
Recognizing grace as I took care of orphans in Cochabamba, Bolivia.

Save The Date: Day of Gratitude

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Day of Gratitude


Tuesday, February 25th | 9:00am-7:00pm
Saint André Bessette Catholic Church | 601 W. Burnside Street, Portland


ENEWS - We Did It

The Open Doors Campaign is officially closed!! And now it’s time to celebrate! On Tuesday, February 25th, we will host a full day of gratitude filled events for our entire community – guests, parishioners, volunteers, partners, donors, and general supporters – including a scheduled visit from Archbishop Alexander K. Sample and local media. We hope that everyone will join us to share in the excitement of our successful development endeavors and the ongoing work of our community of faith and service.

Registration for each of the day’s activities is required
so that we can effectively plan for catering & staffing needs.
…And did we mention, it’s all free, as a token of our gratitude to all of you.

Eventbrite - Day of Gratitude

This day will be chalk full of gratitude-filled events! So join us for an individual event… or the full day! Please see a full description of the day’s events below:


Morning Hospitality | 9:00am – 12:00pm
There is no better way to start our Day of Gratitude than with those we welcome every day – our guests. Participants in Morning Hospitality will serve as volunteers in our outreach to men and women experiencing extreme poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and severe isolation. Participants will begin their day with a volunteer introduction, followed by volunteer service in our meal program, clothing or hygiene closets, foot care or art programs, or general hospitality, and concluding with a volunteer reflection on the morning’s experience. (Please note: participants in Morning Hospitality must be 18+ or accompanied by an adult.)


Noon Mass | 12:00pm – 1:30pm
Our Day of Gratitude continues with our daily Mass, with some additional time to share in the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Join us to worship with one another, with a special celebration to give thanks for the great success of our recent endeavors and ongoing work of our community.


Community Luncheon | 1:30pm – 3:00pm
Following Mass, our entire community – guests, parishioners, volunteers, community partners, general supporters, and staff – will gather for a casual lunch. Participants will enjoy a meal in fellowship with one another as our thanks to all who help to make our community such an incredible place. We will also take this opportunity to share in the excitement of our successful development endeavors, as well as some creative recognitions of the outstanding participation of our many community members.


Mini Urban Immersion | 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Don’t miss this one! As part of the Day of Gratitude, we are offering a Mini Urban Immersion to all who have not yet experienced this amazing program. Participants will learn more about the issues of urban poverty in our community, take a tour of the neighborhood and discover nearby services, as well as participating in an afternoon volunteer opportunity to assist with our outreach services.


Campaign Close Celebration | 5:00pm – 7:00pm
To conclude our Day of Gratitude, we will gather to celebrate the official close of The Open Doors campaign! The evening will highlight a special thank you to the donors and supporters that have helped to achieve this great success, as well as tours of the new program spaces and a sneak peek at what’s coming up in 2014. Participants will get to meet our campaign funders, chat with staff and community leadership, and enjoy some tasty hors d’oeuvres and “mocktails”. We hope to gather our entire community for this special celebration of our hard work and bright future!


We look forward to seeing you, celebrating with you, and extending our gratitude for all that you do in our community! 


Additional Event Information


Public Transportation
Max Green & Yellow Lines, Bus Lines #1, 4, 8, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 33, 35, 43, 44, 56, 94

Parking
Validated parking will be available at Broadway Garage #77 (632 SW Pine Street), U.S. Bank Plaza #64 (111 SW 5th Avenue), and U.S. Bancorp Garage #65 (435 SW Pine Street). Please be sure to bring your parking ticket with you to the event for full-price validation.

For all questions & participation information:
Jess Aleksy – Director of Marketing and Development
aleksy@saintandrechurch.org | 503.228.0746, x117

MOB: February, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | February, 2014

ENEWS - MOB (Feb)

Photo – Public Domain

Distance view of the Alcazar de Segovia during,
the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle, located in Central Spain

Community Corner: Jared Fischer

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Community Corner


Jared Peter Fischer – Jesuit Volunteer
Food Pantry Coordinator | August, 2013 – Present


Jd_mtns     Jd_JVC (1)     Jd_Yellowstone (1)

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Custer, South Dakota

Other Places Lived: Ashton, Idaho; Missoula, MT

Academic & Professional Background:

  • 2009 – University of Montana, Presidential Leadership Scholar & National Merit Finalist
  • 2013 – Graduated University of Montana, High Honors, BA in Anthropology & Geographic Information Systems Certificate

Describe a typical day in the life of the Food Pantry Coordinator:
I get to St. Andre’s in the morning and help the programming staff get set up for Morning Hospitality. I spend the morning with the guests, chatting with them and getting to know them. In the afternoon, I open up the food pantry and accompany people as they shop; after that, I either attend staff meetings or tackle any other logistical tasks that come up.

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
It’s hard to choose just one favorite, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity to spend time with our guests. As more of an introvert, it can be challenging to constantly be surrounded by people in such an intensely relational environment, but that part is also what I value the most since I get to meet so many great people and share in their day-to-day experiences.

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Book:
I’ve found I have more time to read for fun now that I’m not in college, so I’m finding more and more favorites all the time!  Some favorites include Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, Endurance by Alfred Lansing, and Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Favorite Artist & Song:
Nickel Creek, or any group that Chris Thile is involved in.

Favorite Quote:
I love quotes! I don’t think I can choose just one favorite, but I love esse quam videri, which means “to be, rather than to appear.”

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

What was the happiest moment of your life?
I can’t choose just one, but one that comes to mind is my brother’s wedding this summer. Our whole family was together and it was just a great celebration.

Who would you call a hero or inspiration in your life?
I’m going to jump on the Pope Francis bandwagon; it’s so exciting to have a pope who is leading by such genuine words and actions, and I’m inspired to live my own faith even more every time I hear about what Francis is up to.

Is there one moment or period in your life that you would call a “turning point”?
Finishing up college and entering the world of full-time jobs and “real-world” responsibilities has definitely been a transition; I would say more of a growth experience than a turning point.

Do you have any regrets? Any that you are willing share?
Of course I do; most of them have to do with playing it safe when I should have taken a risk.

How would you describe a perfect day?
Waking up to a cool, sunny morning, having a nice big breakfast, and spending the day rock climbing with my sister and being outside in nature in some way, shape, or form with friends and family.  Then making dinner and spending a warm evening playing music outside.  I’d finish up by looking at the stars.

What is the most inspirational place you have ever been?
Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It’s absolutely gorgeous and everything in the landscape is just big; huge mountains, deep, wide valleys. You see how small you are in comparison.

And just for laughs and pondering…

Ninjas or Pirates? Explain.
Ninjas. They’re masters of all forms of combat and pirates just get scurvy and wooden legs.

What item in your fridge is calling your name at the moment?
Being a Jesuit Volunteer, there’s not a lot in my fridge at the moment. But I could really go for the cinnamon rolls in my freezer that my grandma sent me.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
As an archaeologist, I can say that the best thing before sliced bread was the domestication of grain that allowed semi-sedentary cultures to even bake bread in the first place. Just kidding; probably crunchy peanut butter.

And finally, before we conclude…

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
If you want something, be willing to work for it.  Most good things require taking risks.

If you could pass along any words of wisdom to the world before you go, what would those words be?
Rule #6: Don’t take yourself so darn seriously!

Save The Date: Annual Meeting

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2014 Annual Meeting


Tuesday, January 21st | 5:30pm-7:30pm
Saint André Bessette Catholic Church | 601 W. Burnside Street, Portland


This month, our community will host it’s first ever Annual Meeting. This meeting is meant to gather all community members together to hear updates, discuss the upcoming year, and learn more about leadership opportunities at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church. We kindly request that all participants register for this event so that we can prepare meeting materials accordingly.

This is your chance to start 2014 off with all the information you need to be
an informed, engaged, and empowered member of our community…
And as you might have guessed: we’ll have some BIG news to share.

Eventbrite - 2014 Annual Meeting

The evening’s meeting will have the following three goals for all participants:

  1. News & Updates: First things first, where are we at? Our “State of the Community” will cover successes, issues, and ongoing topics for discussion. There will be plenty of time for Q&A and conversation.
  2. Looking Ahead: Next up… well, what’s next? Our community has undergone a lot of change in that last year, but we’re headed towards some very exciting endeavors! Hopefully you’ll be happy to here what we have planned!
  3. Leadership Recruitment: We need you! We have revamped our committees and are actively recruiting for members to play critical roles in the leadership of our parish & community. You’ll get a chance to hear from each committee and take the first steps towards membership!

Additional Event Information


Public Transportation
Max Green & Yellow Lines, Bus Lines #1, 4, 8, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 33, 35, 43, 44, 56, 94

Parking
Validated parking will be available at Broadway Garage #77 (632 SW Pine Street), U.S. Bank Plaza #64 (111 SW 5th Avenue), and U.S. Bancorp Garage #65 (435 SW Pine Street). Please be sure to bring your parking ticket with you to the event for full-price validation.

For all questions & participation information:
Jess Aleksy – Director of Marketing and Development | aleksy@saintandrechurch.org | 503.228.0746, x117

Save The Date: Saint André Feast Day

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St. André Feast Day Parish Breakfast


Sunday, January 5th | 11:00am-1:00pm
Saint André Bessette Catholic Church | 601 W. Burnside Street, Portland


You’re Invited to celebrate the Feast Day of Saint André Bessette at our community’s first Parish Breakfast of 2014. Our Parish Breakfasts are meant for our entire community – parishioners, volunteers, community members, supporters, donors, and staff – to join together and enjoy a common fellowship. We will also kick off 2014 with some exciting updates (you won’t want to miss this!) and a look at the year ahead. Please join us to share in the HospitalityHealing, and Hope that makes our Saint André Bessette community such a wonderful place.

The morning’s activities will include:

  • A hearty breakfast – yum!
  • A welcome from Fr. John Patrick Riley
  • Updates and a look ahead at 2014 by staff & community leadership
  • An official blessing, as well as tours, of the newly-renovated space
  • Plenty of great friends, great food, and great fellowship!

Additional Event Information


Public Transportation
Max Green & Yellow Lines, Bus Lines #1, 4, 8, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 33, 35, 43, 44, 56, 94

Parking
Validated parking will be available at Broadway Garage #77 (632 SW Pine Street), U.S. Bank Plaza #64 (111 SW 5th Avenue), and U.S. Bancorp Garage #65 (435 SW Pine Street). Please be sure to bring your parking ticket with you to the event for full-price validation.

Contact
Jess Aleksy – Director of Marketing and Development | aleksy@saintandrechurch.org | 503.228.0746, x117

MOB: January, 2014

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Moment of Beauty | January, 2014

PIC - Beauty (Jan)

Photo by CNS/Reuters

An aerial view shows the snow covered church of the village of Jenisberg,
near the Swiss Mountain’s winter resort of Davos

Save The Date: Leadership Development Training

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Leadership Development Training


Wednesday, October 2nd | 5:30pm-7:00pm
Saint André Bessette Catholic Church | 601 W. Burnside Street, Portland


Are your ready to step into a leadership role in the Saint Andre Bessette Community? Join us for our first ever Leadership Development Training to take the next steps. This training will serve as the first community-wide step in accomplishing the goals set in our Parish & Organizational Plan, including the successful completion of our campaign endeavors and the sustainable funding of our programs & projects.

And we cannot succeed if we do not have your support.

The evening’s training will aim to cover the following three items:

  1. Our Approach to Development: Simply put, development can be scary. We want to introduce our approach to development which focuses on a broader approach to building the capacity of our community to create longterm sustainability. This includes ways in which people give of their time and skills (as well as their financial resources) and, more importantly, serve as connectors to new networks of opportunity.
  2. The Role that Community Leaders Can Play: You – our volunteers, skilled advisors, donors, and supporters of our cause – can play an integral role in our ongoing development. We want you to consider how you can grow your role as an ambassador for our community.
  3. Action Items… and the Materials You Need to Get it Done: Everyone will be provided with the tools needed to create a useful social map of their network and the materials needed to take that first step for engagement. Materials may include (as needed): information about our community and our work, invitations to important upcoming events, and ways to give of time, skills, and financial resources.

To Participate, Please Contact:
Jess Aleksy – Director of Marketing and Development | aleksy@saintandrechurch.org | 503.228.0746, x117

Save The Date: Renovation Hard Hat Party

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Renovation Hard Hat Party


Thursday, October 17th | 6:00pm-8:00pm
Saint André Bessette Catholic Church | 601 W. Burnside Street, Portland


You’re invited to go behind the scenes of our 2013 renovation with a Renovation Hard Hat Party! This fall, our community will benefit from a $300,000+ capital project to improve our building as part of an ambitious endeavor, The Open Doors Campaign. This capital project will allow us to better serve over 150 men & women each day who suffer from extreme poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction, and severe social isolation by providing better prepared meals, better access to clean clothes and hygiene itms, greater staff assistance with triage & referral, and more efficient use of our multi-purpose service areas. Please join us to learn more about our goals for a future filled with HospitalityHealing, and Hope for those who struggle on the margins of society.

The evening’s activities will include:

  • Light refreshments & live music
  • Tours of the facility renovation areas
  • Information on post-renovation programs
  • Updates on The Open Doors Campaign
  • Presentations by community members
  • One-on-one time with staff & committees
  • Warm fellowship with our community

Eventbrite - A Renovation Hard Hat Party


Additional Event Information


Public Transportation
Max Green & Yellow Lines, Bus Lines #1, 4, 8, 9, 12, 17, 19, 20, 33, 35, 43, 44, 56, 94

Parking
Validated parking will be available at Broadway Garage #77 (632 SW Pine Street), U.S. Bank Plaza #64 (111 SW 5th Avenue), and U.S. Bancorp Garage #65 (435 SW Pine Street). Please be sure to bring your parking ticket with you to the event for full-price validation.

Contact
Jess Aleksy – Director of Marketing and Development | aleksy@saintandrechurch.org | 503.228.0746, x117

Community Corner: Fr. John Patrick Riley

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Community Corner


Fr. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C.
Pastor | July, 2013 – Present


Fr. JP 1Fr. JP 2

Tell us a bit about yourself…

Hometown: Lockport, NY

Other Places Lived: Buffalo, NY, South Bend, IN, Charlottesville, VA, Wuerzburg, Germany, El Paso, TX, Notre Dame, IN, Cascade, CO, Fort Portal, Uganda, South Bend/Notre Dame, IN, Colorado Springs, CO, South Bend, IN, Portland, OR

Academic & Professional Background:

  • 1979 | B.A. in History/Political Science | Canisius College of Buffalo, NY | Summa Cum Laude & Army ROTC commission
  • 1982 | Juris Doctor | Notre Dame Law School | Commission Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps
  • 1982-1987 | Active Duty with Army Third Infantry Division, Germany | ARCOM/Army Commendation Medal | Air Defense Artillery Center, Fort Bliss, Texas | Army Achievement Medal and MSM/Meritorious Service Medal
  • 1992 | Master of Divinity | University of Notre Dame
  • 1993 | Perpetual Vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross
  • 1994 | Ordained to the priesthood
  • 1993-2013 | Transitional Deacon, Parish Priest and Pastor | Assignments include: Christ the King Parish (South Bend, IN), Kyarusozi Parish Community (Fort Portal, Uganda), St. Joseph Parish (South Bend, IN), Sacred Heart Parish (Notre Dame), All Saints Parish (Lockport, NY), Tri-Community Parish (Colorado Springs, CO), St. Joseph Parish (South Bend, IN)

Describe a typical day in the life of the Parish Administrator:
I commute in from the residence at the University of Portland, share in common prayer with staff and volunteers before morning hospitality, hold confessions / reconciliation at 11:30 and daily Mass at 12:05 pm, then paperwork, staff and other meetings, individual pastoral counseling, and a commute back to UP.

What is your favorite part of your job at Saint André Bessette Catholic Church?
The daily Mass and other sacramental ministry is always the favorite part of my work.  It is the ministry for which I was ordained a priest.

Now for some easy starter questions…

Favorite Book: The Bible. Big surprise!

Favorite Movie: The Searchers or The Quiet Man – hard to beat the Duke in his prime!

Favorite Artist & Song: The Allman Brothers Band – Dreams

Favorite Quote: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” -Clint Eastwood

Favorite Place in Portland: Forest Park, so far…

Okay, now for some tougher questions…

Who would you call a hero or inspiration in your life?
My parents, John and Patricia, were the first and best examples of heroic faith and virtue to me. They remain a source of continual inspiration to me.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?
I have collected everything from fossils, dinosaurs, coins, stamps, and comic books to my current collectibles of memories, memory stones, and running race t-shirts.

What was the most profound spiritual moment in your life?
No one moment can be singled out.  Any good for others that God accomplishes through me is sufficiently profound to me.

If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
Turn it over to my religious community with a request and recommendation that it be divided between the Holy Cross District of East Africa and St. Andre Bessette, Portland. (Note: our Development Director will probably ask me to sign a pledge form to this regard!)

Do you have any regrets? Any that you are willing share?
I regret my failure to deal with malaria and nervous exhaustion in Western Uganda. My time in East Africa was all too short.

What 3 things would you pack if you were going to be stranded on a deserted island?
My profession crucifix, Liturgy of the Hours books, Mass kit and missal.

What did you want to be when you grew up? What do you still want to be when you grow up?
Everything from a paleontologist to lawyer to priest.  I’ve grown old but have yet to be fully grown up.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
Faith, hope and love will help with the suffering that is a part of every life. Don’t inflict it on myself and, for heaven’s sake, DON’T inflict it on others!

And just for laughs and pondering…

What item in your fridge is calling your name at the moment?
Odwalla Protein Monster!!!

Ninjas or Pirates? Explain.
Easy. Ninjas. Far more skilled and dangerous.

What was the best thing before sliced bread?
Unsliced bread.

If you could have any super power, what would it be and why?
Flight. I ‘d like to avoid the commute.

And finally, before we conclude…

If you could write your own epitaph, what would it read?
“With God’s help, he tried.”

If you could pass along any words of wisdom to the world before you go, what would those words be?
Trust in God one moment and one day at a time, and give thanks to him always.