Fifty years may seem like a very long time. However, today it feels like a blink of the eye as I reflect upon the years that my family has spent in a single home.
On June 13, 1969, my parents brought my sister and I into the office of a lawyer to witness the purchase of our family’s “home”- the same home which my family has retained all the years since. At the time, I did not fully understand what was happening, except for the fact that I was finally going to get my own room! As far back as I could remember, my bed was a pull out sofa in the living room of our three room apartment. My parents always promised that I would one day have my own room. Fifty years ago yesterday, my dream became a reality!
I remember how proud my parents were of their achievement. Having immigrated to this country, they saved enough money to buy their own home, which served as a tangible sign of the blessings that their hard work and the opportunities afforded them by our country were able to give them and my family. I also remember that my mother specifically chose June 13th to close on the deal, because it was the feast of Saint Anthony, in whom she has great devotion. In fact, later that same day, my father put a statue of Saint Anthony in the front of the house, where it still stands 50 years later.
In our modern world, many of us move often in our lifetimes. I myself have moved six times since ordination. However, I considered myself blessed that my family has been able to keep our “family home”. It is a place where we celebrated birthdays and graduations, weddings and ordinations. It is the place where both of my parents walked out into the world on the day that God called them home. It is the same place where my sister and I returned after burying my parents. From all these memories, I have come to realize that it is the place where I learned gratitude, humility, patience and family pride. Most importantly, it is the place where I met the Lord through the love of my parents and neighbors who helped form me in faith and put me on the road to everlasting life.
Thanks Mom and Dad for giving my sister and me so great a gift!