A View From the Pew…

This is my first attempt at sharing some thoughts through a blog posting.

Folks who know me realize that I have little problem talking passionately about issues and life, but engagement in public “blogging” is surely a pretty intimidating concept for anyone – and especially for someone who facilitates an agency supported by, and in need of, monetary donations in order to complete its mission and work.   Just the idea of a disappointing a donor, or even alienating a potential supporter because of some position,  thought or concept I may type with my two forefingers is good enough reason to keep my thoughts to myself!

But the strong pull to post exists – and now, because of our revamped web site thanks to Seminarian Andy Boyd, the “tool” to do this is there as well. So here goes…

In the way of introduction, I am not a Priest or Deacon. Nor am I trained to be the religious spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Erie or even the larger Catholic Church.

Instead, I am simply a Catholic layman, husband, father, grandfather and neighbor- and currently serve as Executive Director at Prince of Peace Center. I never planned nor anticipated I would be in that final role, but there are no coincidences with God – even when we fail to understand or appreciate His plan for us. And perhaps similar to you, I engage daily in the struggle to allow my faith to be the guiding force in all facets of my life despite existing in a world I perceive to be increasingly secularized and all too frequently polarized.

Posting will provide to me an opportunity to draw from personal experiences and observations, and then reflect upon my perspectives and thoughts – hopefully in a manner that reminds folks first of God’s existence – and then of His expectations to love others.

Further, the Director’s position at the Center demands I remain a responsible advocate and spokesperson for those lacking adequate voice. Our neighbors include the poor and marginalized living among us in need of recognition and support from those with the capacity to assist them in the move from hopelessness and despair toward increased stability and self-sustainability.

Pope Francis reminds us daily to live one’s life in service to others. He defines and seeks a living church that offers the hope and peace which are fruits of charitable works and selfless example. Prince of Peace Center has always maintained a defined role within that sort of vision throughout the extended Shenango Valley. Initiated by the late Sr. Benita Repasky, SSJ, the Center has existed simply to serve – and to offer opportunity for others to join into that service. We have not changed from that root mission during the past 31 years, and only feel more confident we are to continue upon that same path!

So, in the coming weeks and months, I hope to use this blog space to reflect viable evidence that Prince of Peace Center does offer substantial help and realistic hope – that the Center actually does what it purports to be. I truly believe that anyone who comes to know us will also come to love us – and see the blog as a means of introduction. I hope to share some gained insights intended to encourage, enlighten and engage the reader to join into the work of being present community to one another. My hopeful prayer is that God will be with me each time I sit to draft some words!

Ultimately, some may find value in what I have to say; yet anticipate others may categorically reject me as being out of touch, ill-informed or worse. In either case, I look forward to your comments and interactions.

Joe Flecher

Prince of Peace Center

Prince of Peace Center
502 Darr Avenue, Farrell, PA 16121
Phone: (724) 346-5777| Fax: (724) 346-1440

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