Thank you for your beautiful article in the April 26 edition (Editor’s Report) regarding recent honors bestowed on Joe Delaney by the University of Notre Dame. Joe is the very first person, other than an alumnus, who has been appointed as a member of their national alumni board of directors. Knowing Joe as well as I do, I am not surprised about this singular honor.
Joe has had a monumental impact on my diaconal ministry on Staten Island, which spanned 25 years. Our association began on a Saturday morning in the 1990s, when I was running the food pantry for my parish, St. Mary of the Assumption, which was one of the poorest parishes on Staten Island. Rarely would we have enough food to provide for the needy. At about 11 a.m., a caravan of cars arrived representing that year’s Bread of Life campaign run by the Notre Dame Club of Staten Island. Immediately, they unloaded the cars and started to bring the food into the pantry. The boxes of food seemed endless. I literally was stunned and speechless. Later that evening, I called Joe Delaney, who organized the drive, and thanked him. We both remember my telling him how I literally cried with joy after I recovered from my original shock over their generosity.
Immediately after that incident, I joined the ND club and eventually became its Respect Life coordinator and assistant chaplain, assisting Msgr. James Dorney. Since then, Joe and I have become very close friends and we still work together on numerous initiatives, with our main goal of reaching out to the least of our brethren as Our Lord commanded us to do.
Deacon Jim Stahlnecker