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Eric's Promise 2005

As I'm sitting at my computer to update Eric's website, my thoughts go back over the past 4 years. The years have gone by fast and for that I am grateful. I don't intend to sound negative or to imply that I'm wishing my life away, I'm grateful because that must mean that I'm busy LIVING.

I think about Eric and all that he has taught me. There are things that he already knew at the age of 17 yrs. that I am now just beginning to understand. I am STILL learning from Eric. He knew the importance of kindness. I'm talking about everyday kindness. Smiling at someone when we don't feel like it, being patient when we don't think we have any patience left. It means giving what we can when it seems like we don't have much left to give. During those times, I feel Eric giving me a little nudge. He always kept me honest.
Eric taught me to quit thinking about myself and to think about others. That gift from Eric has served me well over the past few years. My grief might have overcome me had it not been for this blessing from my son.

I will never forget Eric's Lenten promise, in his words, “to be more giving.” He meant it with all of his heart. His friends and classmates who knew the kind of person Eric was knew that he sincerely meant what he said. Their commitment to keep Eric's promise was a beautiful gesture on behalf of their friend, Eric. It was also a gift that they gave to me, his mother. When the Marian students brought their donations for the St. Vincent de Paul Society up to the altar at Eric's memorial mass, I experienced tears of joy and sadness. Mr. Brettnacher, the principal at the time, talked to me about “paying it forward.” That is what Eric's Promise is all about. It means returning the kindness that has been shown to you by sharing it with someone else.

Many parents who have lost children do special things in their memory. They have scholarships in their memory, plant trees or build a park. Although I have done a few of those things, I didn't have to create what has become most precious to me, Eric's Promise. This Lenten project in memory of Eric presented itself to me. I just prayed about it and asked for our Lord's blessing. Eric would be in awe of the students who have shown so much generosity to those in need in our community.

When I think about Eric's Promise, I think of the gospel about the loaves and fishes. Our Lord saw that there wasn't enough to feed the crowd that had gathered. He made it so there was. On Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2002, Eric decided to gather some things to donate to SVDP. It was just a few bags. On March 15, 2002 a truck was filled with hundreds of bags donated by the Marian students. Each year since, the bags and monetary donations continue to multiply in Eric's memory. The Lord works through us to help those in need. In my eyes, a miracle called Eric's Promise occurs each Lenten Season. And for this I am grateful.

I would like to recognize students at the following schools who participated in Eric's Promise 2005. They collected clothes, food, and money to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

      - Marian High School collected the most with donations of 19 ½ carts!

     - St. Pius X Religious Education collected 120 jars of peanut butter and jelly!

     - Holy Cross, St. Anthony de Padua, and St. Thomas in Elkhart, and Our Lady of
       Hungary raised money as their donation to SVDP.

     - Corpus Christi School held a food drive.

The following schools donated cart loads of clothing and household items to SVDP:

Holy Family School
St. Joseph Grade School in South Bend
St. Adalbert School
St. Joseph High School
St. Bavo School
St. Joseph School in Mishawaka
St. Matthews School
Queen of Peace

I am looking forward to this Lenten Season and Eric's Promise 2006.

Please feel free to e-mail me with your questions or just to let me know what idea your school has for participating in Eric's Promise this year.

There are many lessons to be learned from Eric's Promise. I plan to continue to share them with you in the coming years.

This year I am focused on “ the power of one.” Each and every one of us has the power to make a difference in someone's life. We may not realize at the time that in fact we have made a difference. However, that one small act of kindness can go along way. It may just change a life.

Love is everything.

Thanks to all for keeping Eric's Promise.

God Bless,
Mary

 


News Articles from 2005                                                                                                                                   

South Bend Tribune 2005 Article
The Vincentian Word Article


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This  website is dedicated in loving memory of my son Eric Henry and to the students and members of the community
who continue to fulfill Eric's Promise "to try to be more giving".
St. Vincent De Paul Society St. Joseph County Indiana