At birth I was born into the Roman Catholic faith and Irish culture. I was raised in that environment. Typically, nightly,  my family knelt down and prayed the Rosary which was followed by my father’s recitation of the Litany of the Saints.

Being the second oldest in a family of twelve children I was raised to be responsible, caring, sharing and to be a positive model for those coming behind me. Growing up on 28 acres of land each child had chores to do; in fact I think each child grew up expecting and wanting to have chores to do.

In retrospect, my Mom and Dad were exceptional in terms of their wisdom, patience, commitment and management . I know their daily lives were informed by gospel values.

My wife, Colleen, died on August 17, 2019, so now I am alone with my thoughts and memories. My dominant thought/emotion is one of gratitude. Everything is a gift. I am grateful for the faith and the culture I was born into; for my Mom and Dad and my siblings, their spouses and families and in a special way for the oldest sibling in my family who is an ordained priest and who continues to celebrate Mass daily with a grateful congregation.

I also acknowledge how graced I have been to have had the opportunity to meet and work with outstanding people: leaders, visionaries, administrators, colleagues, and the thousands of young people with whom I was privileged to work.

I am grateful to special people who played important roles at different points in my life as I transitioned from one stage to another; some of those were highly educated and some were “to Fortune and Fame unknown”( Thomas Gray); they encouraged, challenged and supported me, and pointed to the way.

My wife, Colleen, was a gift and a blessing from heaven; as Joni Mitchell sings “don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone” resonates with me; this phrase has layers of reality that I am continuing to discover daily.

In my current state I am humbled by the love and caring of my daughter, her husband and their two children. Their approach to life is informed by the same gospel values that informed my parents’ lives.

Finally, Canada is a country of great potential; so stay calm, stay safe and enjoy the journey – the pilgrimage.