August 1st is a very special day. Today I am grateful for the gift of sharing this life with three amazing women who all have this birthday in common: my daughter, Sarah Ashworth; St. Joseph's Director of Faith for Life, Jeanne Mooney; and our parishioner and dear friend, Marlene Maggio.
Of course I most clearly recall the August 1st of 29 years ago when I woke up wondering if my baby would ever come into this world. The July 15 due date had long passed. It seemed like it would be another very hot day; another doctor's appointment; another long wait. My mom had come along with me to the doctor's office, fortunately, because when the doctor began to examine me she announced that I was in labor and off to the hospital we went. (My mom couldn't drive a stick shift so I drove myself but it was nice to have her there!) Our beautiful Sarah came into the world later that evening and my heart was filled with gratitude and awe, as it has been every day since.
A "few" years ago now, Jeanne and I first met when she brought her family to St. Joe's fledgling attempt at family Faith Formation. Here she is now with her two children in high school and college, directing our Faith Formation and elevating family Faith Formation to new heights every day. Her special gifts for ministry have evolved gradually and I have been grateful to be a witness to the process. Of course, Greg and I will never forget sharing the experience of being in Philadelphia for Pope Francis' visit with Jeanne -- it was great fun and so moving.
A testament to the generous spirit of Marlene Maggio is that today she is donating her birthday to "No Kid Hungry." You can visit her on Facebook to contribute. Greg and I have been grateful recipients of Marlene's generous spirit as well -- she and Don accompanied us through the annulment process a long time ago, and Marlene was a dedicated friend to Greg's mom, Rosemary, especially as she became more ill. Without Marlene and Don, we don't know how we would have gotten Rosemary to Sarah and Ryan's wedding just a few months before she passed away. We are always full of gratitude when we think of Marlene.
And so August 1 is a day of gratitude, admiration and love. Happy birthday, Sarah, Jeanne and Marlene!