Been reticent, and reluctant to post before knowing the province's decision on admission into the novitiate program. All will be revealed soon. The provincial minister is visiting tomorrow.
In the meantime, I've been keeping busy at home and at ministry.
Today the postulants and friars worked outside, improving the courtyard gardens. We worked under the supervision of Fr. Thomas McNamara, associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows and proud alumnus of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Our friar has a degree in horticulture and has put it to good use around the province, greening every place he has been assigned. A couple of times this year he has come to St. Michael Friary, consulting with us and getting all of us to dig into the dirt!
This evening I did some homework-slash-spiritual reading on Francis of Assisi. I also baked a fruit cobbler in advance of the provincial minister's visit. It's safe for every friar: no butter, no sugar, and spice-free on one half of the cobbler.
That's the homefront: little fraternal things. Abroad, as ministry winds up, we're having some adventures at Neighbors Together:
On Monday I traveled to Harlem for a public hearing on the state minimum wage bill. Our executive director and one of our members gave favorable testimony for the bill, which would increase the New York State minimum wage to $8.50 an hour immediately and index subsequent annual increases to the cost of living.
We've been making phone calls to Congress, specifically the members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to ask those lawmakers to prevent cuts to food stamps. The House Agriculture Committee, tasked with cutting $33 billion from the farm appropriations bill, decided that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program alone would take the hit. This would knock two million people off the food stamp rolls and decrease already-meager benefits to 44 million people. Deplorable. Outrageous. Unconscionable. Sinful. Uncatholic. The Senate version of the agriculture proposal would cut $4 billion from food stamps, unless certain amendments get approved. We are trying to stave off any cuts.
On Friday, State Assemb. William Boyland Jr. is visiting Neighbors Together for what we hope is a productive accountability meeting. Anyone who reads the newspapers knows that Boyland has fallen short of honoring the public trust, but for better and worse he represents the neighborhoods that Neighbors Together serves. We have to work with him to win better jobs, better wages, better housing, and better lives for our sisters and brothers in the community.
I have been remiss to post about our learning on celibate sexuality from last week, as well as other things that slip past when fatigue sets in and inspiration sails off. Like I said at the beginning: I've been reticent because I want to deliver the big news when it comes.