CHRISTMAS GREETINGS FROM FR. PAUL DUGAN, S.J.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May Christ’s blessings be with you during this sacred and joyous season. This has been an active and eventful year for me here at Murray-Weigel. We enjoy all that the beautiful Fordham campus has to offer. We also have regular activities at Murray-Weigel, including performances by super musicians and stimulating lectures. The staff continues to provide excellent care, while the Jesuits provide each other with critical personal and spiritual support. Some of us who joined the Society at the same time have known each other for over 70 years.
My fellow Jesuits and I continue to get out to Fordham football games, women’s and men’s basketball
games, and women’s softball games. The softball team gave me a game ball from last spring’s Atlantic 10 Championship, a contest I had the privilege of attending. I have a couple basketballs given to me by the Fordham teams, as well. In May, a number of members of the champion women’s basketball team came over to Murray-Weigel for a social gathering with the Jesuits. A good time was had by all!
Meanwhile, the men’s team is working hard to improve their record. I was also fortunate to go to a New York Yankees game at the end of the season when Derek Jeter was honored. Speaking of outings, a group of us took a scenic tour around Manhattan Island on the Circle Line in July. As busy as I am, it is hard to stay in top-notch physical shape. Regular yoga sessions with a good trainer and physical therapy here at Murray-Weigel help.
I remain focused on what has been my personal mission for many decades: to “spread the joy”! Today, that means I visit the Fordham Student Center and speak with as many students as I can. It is extraordinary to discover how friendly and receptive they are to a 90-year-old Jesuit in a wheelchair.
Amongst the best young folk are the athletes (Do you think I’m a bit biased?). I must confess that I get Fr. Joseph McShane SJ, President of Fordham University and I enjoy a football game.“Spreading the joy” with Ian Williams, a super Fordham student and football player. some pretty interesting reactions when I suggest,as I often do, that a student consider a religious vocation!
Of course, I can’t do all of these things by myself. My regular “staff,” volunteers Jay Gallagher,Jeanne Moccia, Tom Sear, Will Slattery, and other student volunteers arrange my busy schedule and push the wheelchair wherever I need to go. I even have a wonderful helper, Laura Buchanan, who spreads joy with her dog, Ginger, and does seamstress work for me when my clothes need a bit of tailoring.
As is true for everyone, life has its share of pain and suffering. Not surprisingly, each year a number of Murray-Weigel Jesuits reach the end of their mortal lives. This year, I lost a very dear friend known to many of you, Fr. Robert Haus, S.J. We were close friends for decades at Canisius and had great times together, particularly on trips to various parts of the world. Bob’s passing was not unexpected, and thankfully, he was walking and comfortable most of the time. I miss him terribly but am partially comforted by the certainty that he is now in a better place. I am very grateful for so much, including what promises to be a bright future.
In early 2015, I will travel home to Buffalo to attend the Canisius Hall of Fame Award Ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, January 25. There, the second annual Paul J. Dugan, S.J. Award will be presented. Pretty exciting, but I still think it should have been called the Doogs Award!
With all of this, probably my greatest joy is hearing from the many friends whom I have made over the years, whether they are former students, fellow priests, other citizens of that great city, Buffalo, or anyone else I had the good fortune to get to know. If you have a moment, please send me a brief note or email to tell me what is going on in your life. I promise to respond. Better yet, if you are in the greater New York City area, come visit me at Murray-Weigel. Iguarantee you a good meal, a good time, and a great visit! You can even stay overnight!
God’s blessings to all of you!
Yours, in Christ,