by Ed Assile
We all have different talents.
It was a beautiful day in March, 1993 in Fort Lauderdale. My brothers, sister and I had flown in to be with our mother during my father’s operation. Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was to undergo the Whipple procedure that would take 8 hours.
We were fortunate that our cousin, a surgeon at Holy Cross hospital where the surgery was taking place, would observe the surgery and come out every hour or so to give us an update. Our family was clustered together as were other families waiting to hear about their loved ones undergoing surgery that day. I watched as doctors came out of surgery and spoke with the families. I remember thinking these doctors come to work every day to save lives. I go to work and sell textiles, how meaningless when compared to saving lives.
That got me thinking, what are the noblest professions? I concluded it was those that work at saving souls, educating the minds and healing our bodies. The clergy, the educators and those in the medical field. I know I could not be a priest, I have no voice (I was asked to mouth the words in the choir). My wife is a teacher and I know I do not have the patience to teach and I get queasy when I see blood.
So how could I help with the talents that I have? Everyone has different talents, it’s what we do with them that counts. All of us can help our church and archdiocese with our time and resources. It was during that day that I decided to recommit my efforts and continue working on the governing council of the Order of St Ignatius, the philanthropic arm of the Antiochian Archdiocese.
It was after I became a member that I really learned the value of the Order. Our late Metropolitan PHILIP of thrice blessed memory founded the Order in 1975. His hope was that individuals could help the Archdiocese with an annual life time commitment. Over these last 40 years, the Order has grown to over 5000 members, it has contributed over 30 million dollars and has touched many, many lives.
- The retired clergy had a very meager housing allowance, but now supported by the Order, the allowance, although still not enough, has become critical to many retired priests.
- The Order has sent camp scholarships to thousands of our young children. We now have 7 camps throughout the country and the Order supplies two scholarships to every parish every year.
- The Order helps IOCC (International Orthodox Christian Charities), charities in the Middle East as well as numerous charities in the USA.
- The Archdiocese receives about a third of its budget from the efforts of the Order.
I could go on and on about the many beneficiaries of the Order and our Archdiocese would not be what it is today without the work of the Order.
For a mere $1.37 a day, less than a cup of coffee, the annual contribution of $500 a year touches many lives. Something individuals may not be able to do on their own but collectively the impact is huge.
I have been on the governing council for 26 years and am continually amazed at the good the Order does and how gratified I am to be part of this giving. I encourage all Orthodox Christians to seriously consider being part of this wonderful, giving organization.
You can learn more about the Order by accessing the Archdiocese website www.antiochian.org and clicking on Departments and Organizations and going to the Order of St. Ignatius of Antioch.