Going to the annual Food For The Poor Clergy Speakers’ Convocation is like visiting family, like a spiritual retreat, like going to a continuing ed workshop.
We speakers have joined a family. As family we share stories. Recently I shared the story of an assignment I had in February. The huge sign outside the church announced, “We’re also open between Christmas and Easter!” I knocked on the door of the house next door, thinking it might be the rectory. An elderly lady answered the door and informed me that the rectory was halfway down the street. She continued, “As long as you’re here, help me phone my daughter. I need her help.” I gave her my phone, and she made her call, thanking God that he had sent me as an angel to assist her. The poor come in different shapes and at different times, don’t they?
As I hear stories from other members of my FFTP family, I’m inspired. I’m also inspired by our daily prayers together and our commissioning of new members of the family at the end of the Convocation, which was June 7-9. God has and will sustain us.
It will not surprise you that we senior citizen speakers need continuing education about how to make travel arrangements and other nuts and bolts aspects of our ministry. Sometimes we have to be told again and again. Are we getting old? As we say in the Midwest, ya betcha. But eventually we catch on and hang on to this wondrous ministry through thick and thin.
I end with a story of one of our most venerable speakers. After his sermon a lady told him, “Reverend, you have a golden tongue!” To which he asked, “Just like Saint Paul?” The lady paused and then remarked, “No, you weren’t that good!”
We speakers may not have St. Paul’s eloquence, but we strive to have his love of Jesus and the poor burning in our hearts. Please keep us in your daily prayers. We’ll remember you in ours.
Peace and all good,
Father Bob Karris, OFM
Fr. Karris holds a doctorate in New Testament Studies and Early Church History from Harvard University. He has 10 years of ecclesiastical administrative experience, having served the Franciscan community (OFM) as Provincial Minister and General Councilor. He has traveled to 42 countries.
Read a press release about the FFTP Clergy Speakers’ Convocation.