Father Bob Warren, SA, spoke of a pair of letters he recently received.
He confessed that he became emotional reading the notes from two young boys, thanking him and Saint Christopher’s Inn for helping their father, who is a Brother Christopher in recovery. One of the boys sent Father Bob a five-dollar bill, money he received for his birthday, as a way of saying thanks.
“The boy said he had spoken to his father on the phone. He said, ‘When I talked to him, it was the first time I heard daddy smile.’ I read the letters and I cried,” Father Bob said.
It was a sweet story shared on Thursday, April 28 at the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement’s Benefactor Appreciation Day at Graymoor. The Friars welcomed around 100 benefactors for a day of festivities that included a short morning reception, a celebration of Mass at Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel and an update during lunch on some of the restoration and renewal projects happening at the Holy Mountain as well as updates on the Friars’ ministries.
Minister General Father Brian Terry, SA, had much to report, about upgrades and improvements taking place around campus.
Father Brian first mentioned the restoration in the dining room, which includes the repainting of the Last Supper mural on the back wall and the restoration of the dining hall’s statue of Mary. He also pointed out the work done at Our Lady of the Atonement Chapel, which includes repainting of the main icon of Jesus behind the altar.
There was also mention of the new roof that was installed at the Our Lady of the Atonement Shrine.
“We have a new copper roof,” Father Brian explained. “It had gotten a little green, it’s been restored back to bronze.”
Also in the works is a new grotto and a place to leave a testimony, along with the “spiritual saints walk,” which will link all the saint statues on the mountain.
“You’ll have an opportunity to walk with the Saints,” Father Brian said.
The Holy Mountain Franciscan Retreat Center is also being modernized and refurbished, and it will accommodate up to 91 overnight guests when the project is finished.
Along with keeping the benefactors apprised on many capital projects, Father Brian also spoke highly of the novices in Lima, Peru, who the Friars visited and met with earlier this year. The novices there are doing well, he said, and a novice in Assisi, Italy will profess his first vows on September 10.
At San Damiano Farm, there are currently 24 men in recovery, and their talents are being put to good use. A dish called the Graymoor Salad is on the menu at The Riverview Restaurant in Cold Spring, made with greens grown by the men at San Damiano Farm.
“As they are bringing things to life, they themselves are coming to life,” Father Brian said of the Brothers Christopher at the farm. “These men are reinspiring themselves through healing and passing it along.”
Each benefactor who attended received a gift from the Friars in thanks for their continued support and generosity.
The Friars are holding several more Benefactor Appreciation Days in the coming months, including two more at Graymoor. Look for upcoming Benefactor Appreciation Days in your community: