I’ve seen this video a few months ago, but tonight I came to it off a Twitter feed from St. Bonaventure University. I first met Dan Riley in the winter of 2000. I came to Mt. Irenaeus in search of I don’t know what. I had been leading a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle and I was looking for something more. Coming to Mt. Irenaeus was a stretch as I’d been away from the active practice of my faith for almost thirty years at that point. I’d become disillusioned with the a church that didn’t seem to live up to its mission, at least in my own eyes. I’d read Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen and was an occasional visitor to Abbey of the Genesee, but I was not a regular communicant until that Sunday in February 2000. I don’t know if Dan was the celebrant that first Sunday, but I met him very soon after coming to Mt. Irenaeus and I distinctly remember that it was a homily by Dan on Holy Thursday night of 2000 that brought me back home. His manner bespeaks a man who is the epitome of what it is to be a Franciscan. Fr. Dan taught me how to be holy by being wholly myself.
This video pays tribute to Dan and the sharing of these students demonstrates that Dan’s ministry transcends generations. Recently he was honored by St. Bonaventure University with the Gaudete Award. It’s the highest award given by St. Bonaventure University. I saw him on campus on Thursday and he was as warm as ever.