Donald was one of six children growing up in Northern Jersey. One day, when he was fifteen years old, he walked into town to get some candy from the candy store. As he approached the store he heard gunshots, then two men ran out of the store headed for a parked car with stockings over their heads, carrying a bag and guns. Without thinking Donald ran towards one of the men he was about 15 feet from him when the man quickly pointed a sawed-off shot-gun at him. He froze staring at the gun in horror, when suddenly, two men from inside the store came running out of the store screaming and yelling at the two men. The man holding the gun at Donald quickly turned the gun from him to the other two and fired….. they fell to the ground in a puddle of blood as the two men sped off in their car down the road. Donald bent down and held one of the men as he died in his arms.
Donald later discovered that due to his description of the vehicle and the license plate number they were able to apprehend the two men. They went to prison for a time then released one of them and he went on to kill thirteen more people bringing him back to prison. A detected from the police force shared with Donald that if he were shot by that sawed –off shot gun from fifteen feet he would have been split in two. This horrific and traumatic scene left Donald questioning life and questioning why God spared his life. He easily could have been the one to die and almost was. He searched long and hard for three years for answers. This deep soul-searching had him realize that God had given him the gift of life and he should use his remaining days of life for good. This new perspective caused him to rethink his whole direction in life and brought him to enter the seminary at eighteen.
Sometimes, without warning, horrible things happen and it is a wakeup call to change your path for a better direction. We do not know the day or hour when our time is up. Donald thought long and hard and asked himself would he have been ready if he died that day? And if he did die where would he go? If you died today are you sure where you would be going? Are you ready?
Fr. Donald entered the priesthood as soon as he became an adult, he is now nearing retirement. He has never regretted the decision to enter the priesthood. He is happy serving God and his people and he is sure that he is ready if he were to die today. He still thinks about his experience at fifteen when he came face to face with a thief and a killer and survived. He is grateful for that experience; because it changed his life for the better and led him to a fuller, richer life in Jesus Christ and the Church.
Matthew 25: 1-13
Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep, “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him’ “Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ “But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ “And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.