“Poverty and Prayer” presentations

I recently spent four days in chilly Rochester, NY giving a series of presentations on poverty and prayer at a high school and a college. I offer two reactions to the presentations as a way of reminding people that an important part of my ministry is visiting churches and schools and sharing scenes and stories from my films.

The following endorsement is from Pat Connelly, who is a teacher at the Aquinas Institute (high school) in Rochester, New York, where I gave a 75-minute long presentation at an assembly, as well as spoke at four 45-minute long classes on October 26, 2011:

Mr. Straub’s presentation was the best that I have seen in my twenty-eight years at Aquinas. Heart-wrenching and hopeful, his film clips and stories commanded the full attention of everyone in the auditorium. What we witnessed was a clear example of what it means to live the gospel. His life and his work raise our awareness of the plight of the poor and remind us of our Christian responsibility to respond. Mr. Straub changes lives–the lives of the poor he serves and the lives of audiences inspired to do the same.

The following is from Christine Bochen, Ph.D., who is a professor of religious studies and the William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies at Nazareth College in Rochester, New York, written in response to a two-hour evening presentation I gave at the college on October 27, 2011, along with a one-hour follow-up “conversation” with the students on October 28th.

“Thank you” is inadequate to express my appreciation and gratitude to you. Your presentations exceeded my hopes and expectations for your visit. I continue to hear – both from students and others present – how the images you shared are imprinted on their minds and hearts and how meeting the people whose stories you have recorded makes all the difference in grasping what poverty really means. Like the Hebrew prophets, you tell it as it is! Hard to hear and impossible to forget!

I am grateful too for your visit to Aquinas (high school) – who knows just when and how the seeds you sowed there will sprout but sprout they will. I am glad to have read the students’ letters – so candid, so real (and occasionally amusing).

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