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St. Colman's Day Celebration to Honor Father Bob Begin

On Sunday, November 2nd, we attended the annual St. Colman's Day celebration for which the mass was held at St. Colman's Church and the celebration was held at the West Side Irish American Club in Olmsted Falls. Just as the program notes indicated, it was a "St. Colman Day Celebration Honoring Reverend Robert T. Begin-our beloved 'Father Bob'" and Ms. Lorraine Klause and Ms. Debbie O'Boyle did a beautiful job organizing the entire affair. Moreover, Margaret W. Wong and Associates was proud to have our ad in the souvenir booklet and take part. During the mass, Father Bob's brother Father Dan Begin gave the homily in which he said that like Saint Colman himself, Father Bob, due to the fact that he was outspoken and very socially conscious, went places that none of us ever would have gone and brought back his experiences and shared them with the rest of us. He helped people of all walks of life in all sorts of circumstances. Most importantly, he challenged his parishioners to be the best that they could be. As the mass drew to a close, Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone announced that the Madison Avenue Bridge would be dedicated to Father Bob because a bridge is there to help people navigate and to help keep them safe which are attributes that could apply to Father Bob too. Moreover, that particular bridge was designed for people to walk on and Father Bob is a people person. Then representatives from the African Community of St. Colman's presented Father Bob with several gifts including a framed map of Africa with Father Bob's name on it to signify the work that he has done and plans to do to help African immigrants. Lastly, Ms. Klause and Ms. O'Boyle presented Father Bob with "a gift from the parish" which turned out to be a stunning portrait of him painted by local artist Mr. Steven Christopher Seward. Needless to say, Father Bob was very moved by all of this and spent a few minutes recalling his own history and the people who have touched his life over the years. He made the point that he saw everyone at St. Colman's as his friends and neighbors. The mass appropriately ended with the singing of "Let There Be Peace on Earth." There was an estimated 500 people at the mass at St. Colman's but the celebration at the West Side Irish American Club had approximately 560 people which more that filled up all of the rooms in that establishment. An Irish band called the "Border Sharks" provided the music and everyone had a lot of food and a lot of fellowship. To be sure, there were raffles and sporting contests on every television monitor. The emcee was Judge Sean Gallagher who said St. Colman's would continue on with Father Bob's work assisting immigrants. Judge Eileen A. Gallagher was there as was Judge Pat Carroll. We learned about a special project that was conducted by St. Colman's Monsignor Martin during World War II called "The Jeep" which was a newsletter containing neighborhood news sent to all of the St. Colman's parishioners who were away fighting in the war. These newletters were sent out in 1943, 1944, and 1945. Now Mr. Bill Schmidt is reproducing the 1945 edition and will soon be available as a collector's item to those who would like one for $50.00. We plan to order a couple of copies for friends. During the celebration, it was great watching Father Bob walk around visiting with friends and having a terrific time. One person said that she had never seen him like this before and he laughed and said, "Let's go to the Indians game!" We looked over our program notes again and read, on the back cover, "who are the people of St. Colman Parish? We are an open and welcoming Catholic community celebrating God's gift of diversity. We are grateful for the Irish and other immigrants who built our parish and for those who continue to renew it. We are a family, bringing God's lover to one another and supporting one another in responding to the challenge of living the Gospel. We strive to deepen the participation and ownership of all Parishioners in the whole life of the church, including worship, community life, the building of a just society, and service to all of God's people." As we were leaving we noticed a copy of the "Plain Dealer" and saw that Mr. Michael K. McIntyre had written an article about Father Bob that appeared on Page A4 in the November 2nd edition. In the very last paragraph, Father Bob is quoted as saying, "Priests come and priests go, but it's the people who hold the mission." At our next event for Sunday, we met Reverend George Hrbek of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries and asked him if he knew Father Bob. Reverend Hrbek smiled and told us that he and Father Bob have been to jail together for protesting social injustice. The event that we both attended was the 34th Commemoration of the Martyrs at Beaumont School in Cleveland Heights. The cover of the program read, "as we mark the 34th anniversary of the martydom of four church women in El Salvador: Jean Donovan, Ursuline sister Dorothy Kazel, and Maryknoll sisters Maura Clark and Ita Ford, we carry forward their legacy and commemorate their lives. We recommit ourselves with the poor and marginalized throughout the hemisphere." About 280 people turned up for social hour, interfaith prayer service, and dinner which was put on by the Interreligous Task Force on Central America (IRTF). We were glad that we were able to go to social hour because we saw a few people that we knew and a few people that we got to know. We talked to Mr. Andy Bramante, who is an attorney also, and we both hoped that after the election on Tuesday President Obama will be able to do something to assist people who wish to immigrate to the United States and remain here. Mr. Steve Cagan walked over and introduced himself as the partner of Ms. Mary Kelsey, an artist, who we sat with at the City Club for the Liberation Theology program. He said that they have a new exhibit at CSU in the gallery of the Urban College and we hope we can make it over there to see it. Ms. Kathy Hazelton told us that she attends St. Dominic's and often sees our Ms. Rose Wong there. To be sure, we try to come to this event each year but we had never met the Malave family as we did this time. Mr. Peter Malave is a physicist who was there with his parents, Mr. Santos and Ms. Mary Lou Malave. Peter said that his sister, Ms. Siobhan Malave sits on the IRTF Board of Trustees and has thus gotten them involved. Before we left, we picked up well-researched position papers titled "Towards a more Humanitarian Immigration Policy", "Who's Responsible for the Flight of the Honduran Children?" and "Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating". We were especially sorry that we couldn't have stayed to see Mr. Marcos Antonio Bautista Vasquez demonstrate his skills as a weaver later on in the evening; his spining wheel was already set up in the foyer. The program notes indicated that "Mr. Vasquez comes from a family of weavers who create colorful patterns that embody a beautiful combination of traditional Zapotec ways and contemporary life." But we had to make it over to the last event of the day which was titled "Momentum" and was a recognition of the Northeast Ohio Gay Games 9 volunteers, participants, and supporters at the Gordon Square Arcade on Detroit Avenue. It was put on by the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland whose executive director, Mr. Phyllis Harris told us that the purpose of the event was to "capture the spirit and energy created by Gay Games 9 and keep it going. The Center will be 40 years old next year and we hope to purchase a new building. We hope that everyone can bring the energy and enthusiasm that they brought to Gay Games 9 to the Center." There was no formal program so we stayed for over an hour eating great pizza and visiting with such friends as Ohio State Rep. Nickie Antonio, judicial candidate Mr. Michael R. Sliwinski, Mr. Craig Hoffman, Ms. Mary Zaller, Ms. Michele Tomallo, and Ms. Lisa Sands who worked on Public Relations and Press for Gay Games 9. Ms. Alana Jochum from Equality Ohio hugged us as we walked into the arcade. People were given an opportunity to have their thoughts on Gay Games 9 recorded by Ms. Ally Brauner so we decided to do it. We talked about Margaret W. Wong and Associates being one of the sponsors and how Ms. Wong urged us to be as active as possible assisting the Games while they were being played. We had fun as we told Ms. Brauner about how we couldn't correctly work the stop watch during the swim meets but how much we liked taking care of the lunch room at Tower City. We left very soon after that but it was great seeing old friends and we plan to attend more events to help the Center.