Those were Ed’s simple, yet telling words as he received the Saint Mother Marianne Cope Award on Aug. 18 during the 160th Anniversary Celebration of the Secular Franciscan Order’s St. Joseph Fraternity.
I had the privilege of making the presentation before 100 people during a luncheon banquet at the newly opened Irish Cultural Center.
The plaque read: “In recognition of coordinating the soup kitchen operation and leading/inspiring the volunteer force, resulting in serving nutritious lunchtime meals to the … working poor, jobless and homeless; treating hungry children and adults as blessings; serving over 53,000 meals a year.”
State Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon was on hand to present a proclamation in honor of the second oldest Secular Franciscan fraternity in the U.S. as well as certificates of recognition to Ed and two others receiving Mother Marianne Cope Awards:
- Marion “Duffy” Geary, OFS, for her work with soup kitchens, food pantries and prison ministry.
- Elizabeth “Betty” Frank, OFS, for her ministries at St. Joseph-St. Patrick Church as a professed Secular Franciscan for 70 years.
|Betty Frank & Fr. Christopher with "Welcome to Utica" sign
In addition to awards, the fraternity and City of Utica officials unveiled a street sign sporting the image of St. Marianne and the words, “Welcome to Utica… The Home of St. Marianne Cope.”
The fraternity donated four signs, which the city installed at the north, south, east and west entrances to Utica.
Perhaps the guest speaker, Franciscan Father Christopher Panagoplos, TOR, put it best when he noted that any words of inspiration he could give paled in comparison to the living witness of the honorees.