A Friend In Need
By Gerry Shannon, Director
There was once a priest who tended two flocks, one the parish to which he was assigned by the church, the other was assigned by a Higher Power. The second assignment has a needy and cynical group who this saintly man tended as if it were family.

Two weeks ago a good friend for thirty-five years, Pete Batanides had his family gathered for the tragedy of his father’s death. His family was in shock trying to deal with the pain of this loss. Pete, who retired from the S.F.F.D. four years ago, made a call to the priest of the parish his family had been in for forty years. The voice on the other end of the phone responded with regret that it was Easter and a very busy time. Pete looked at the disbelief in the room and considered his options. A call was made to Father Green, the response was the same as to every member who has ever asked for help from this family priest, “I’ll be there in five minutes.”

Pete recounted to me how Father Green put the family at ease, it seemed as though they had known him all their lives. When this compassionate man left, the Batanides family was some how relieved of some of their suffering. It is a familiar scenario that many firefighters can relate to, with their own stories of Father Green. He is always more than available, we count on him for our needs, fourteen hundred of his flock. No one knows where he finds the time, energy or perfect words, always! I have heard so many stories of Father Green driving from one end of the state to the other; to tend to a firefighter in need, whether it is sickness, family tragedy, or relationship problems. My hope is we, as the recipients of this grace, never loss sight of the devotion our chaplain has to this family. When the end is here I know where John Green is going to be. I just hope when he is up there he can put in one more word, as he does here, for those of us that will really need it.

God Bless Father Green.


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