This is a non-running post. I came across this article that I thought was pretty cool, and it especially stood out in our modern landscape of bad news 24-hours 7-days a week. Plus, as I am writing this, Christmas is right around the corner, therefore a story about a man who has made random acts of kindness the focus of his ministry is especially welcome.
Making a lifestyle out of random acts of kindness
The article (linked below) is about a priest named Father Jim Sichko who travels the United States performing random acts of kindness and charity. For example, one day he will “stand by the drive-thru of a popular Hollywood fast-food joint … buying lunch for everyone who stopped by. The next day he’ll be at a gas station in Kentucky, topping off people’s tanks.”
Pope Francis had selected some 700 people around the world to be part of his Missionaries of Mercy, and this priest is one of the several in the US. He lives a lifestyle of traveling from one place to the next, raising money and then turning around and giving it all away.
Here are some highlights from the article:
Missionaries were assigned to travel the world spreading kindness, forgiveness, joy and mercy to everyone they encountered. Some responded by using their newly granted authority from the pope to perform confession and forgiveness of sins basically anywhere at any time. Others took to radio airwaves or retreats to offer messages of joy.
Sichko, a Kentucky-based preacher, came up with an idea different from the others and got his bishop at the Diocese of Lexington to sign off on it: He’d travel his country performing random acts of kindness in all 50 states.
To say he shocked his lunchtime In N’ Out crowd would be a bit of an understatement.
One woman, overlooking his white clerical collar, asked Sichko if he was a politician.
“No, I’m not a politician. I’m a priest,” he replied, nearly doubling over with laughter.
“How did this happen,” a stunned Hardy Patel asked.
“Just decided. I’m in a good mood.”
“You got it. Pay it forward.”
“I will do, I will do,” Patel told him before driving off with his cheeseburger, then circling back to thank Sichko personally and take a selfie with him.
Sichko says he still doesn’t know why the pontiff, who had never met him until 2015, chose him as a papal missionary of mercy. Ordained 20 years ago — “I always wanted to become a priest, ever since I was a little kid” — he was the pastor at St. Mark Catholic Church in Richmond, Kentucky, when he got the call.
Now he spends five days a week on the road paying for burgers and bicycles and handing out hundred-dollar bills, like the one he slipped 17-year-old Nicholas Vadi when he learned the teenager and his mom were celebrating Vadi’s birthday at the fast-food restaurant.“Priest travels US spreading Gospel 1 good deed at a time” –WOOD TV
“I raise my own salary, living expense, insurance, everything,” Sichko says, adding he sends out “appeal letters” twice a year to parishioners and raises the rest from paid inspirational speaking engagements.
“And then I give it away,” he says, laughing.
Recently he’s started marketing “Miss Marie’s All Natural Spaghetti Sauce” online and hopes to get it into stores shortly. But even the money from that goes to help others. It’s divided among a Texas hospice that cared for his late mother, for which the sauce is named, and a church program to benefit the poor in Appalachia.