This talk was given by Lucille Fortunato during Gratitude Weekend on November 17, 2019.
Good Morning! My name is Lucille Fortunato and I’m here with my husband, Tim Lee, and Mom, Rose Fortunato. They’re sitting in our reserved seats over there. We’ve been parishioners here for about 15 years ‘collectively’. In the spirit of Gratitude Weekend, I was asked to share why I am so thankful and grateful for our beautiful parish and community. But first, I have to say I’m not sure I’m that thankful this morning over the added 5 pounds I gained at the Friar’s Dinner! Now that was such a pure example of why it is impossible to not be grateful for what we have here! What a beautiful night we shared with Fr. Vince, the Friars and the incredible stories of their personal journeys. How thankful we all are, and should be, to have these dedicated people guide us in our own faith journey. Thank you, everyone, who made the night so special – I know how much goes into an event like that to pull it off. You know who you are – so thank you. We had a fantastic time.
That experience (Friar’s Dinner) is what resonates with me and why we love this parish and the community so much. When Tim and I lived in Los Angeles, we would come down to Oceanside to escape the city and visit with my folks every other weekend. At the time, they had just ‘moved’ over from another Church and were very excited about the Franciscan way. We didn’t really know much about what the ‘Franciscan way’ was…all I knew was that we thought their brown robes and sandals looked really cool!
We came to the 10 o’clock mass and were immediately greeted with smiles and handshakes, such warm welcomes, and we thought, what’s wrong here? This is really strange. And then to see the diversity, the compassion, and to hear God’s words spoken in a different but understandable way – we knew we were blessed. But my deep gratitude for what this Parish and community mean to me happened with a call. From Father Vince, to help raise funds for our beloved St. Francis Hall. I had never done anything like that before. I wasn’t ‘that’ person who helped on committees, that was for those ‘other’ people. I just sat there every Sunday, very happy as the spectator. Not as one of ‘those’ people.
Well, that changed, and it certainly changed me. If I didn’t answer that call, I would not have met the most loving and genuine people, we now call friends. I would not feel the closeness to this church community like I do, I would not have felt so strongly to give back as much as I could, whether it be Time, Talent or Treasure. I am so grateful for the opportunity to change that.
Thank you for your time this morning!