Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
October 25, 2004
New Christopher writer says hello
Light One Candle
As the byline says, I am Dennis Heaney and beginning with this column I will be the new writer for the Light One Candle columns.
I have been the president and chief executive officer of The Christophers since May, 2003. In my first year I prevailed on my predecessor, Msgr. Jim Lisante, to continue writing the columns - as well as hosting our Christopher Closeup television and radio show - while I acclimated myself to New York and The Christophers.
However, I have taken advantage of monsignor's kindness long enough and the time has come for me to follow the practice of past Christopher leaders and do this work myself.
By way of my background, I am a native of Minneapolis, married (which seems like a good place to note that I am the first layperson in our almost 60 years to lead The Christophers), the father of four and grandfather of 11. I am sure that as time goes on you will read more about those facets of my life.
Before we moved to New York in May, 2003, I worked in Los Angeles for five years, so our rather peripatetic life has provided me with practical experience on Minnesota winters, L.A. freeway traffic and Fifth Avenue at Christmas time - subjects that could come up occasionally.
Although I am relatively new to The Christophers, my history with the organization goes back to St. Albert the Great grade school in Minneapolis where the Dominican Sisters introduced us to the work of Father James Keller.
His idea that "It's better to light one candle than to curse the darkness" made a strong impression on me.
Since I first heard it, I have tried to live that motto in my life, some days more successfully than others, but I never lost sight of it.
Today, decades later, it is extremely humbling to be in Father Keller's line of succession. Each morning, as I come into our building here in Manhattan, and see Father Keller's portrait in our lobby, I am reminded that the legacy and challenge he gave me, as one of his successors, is to do all that I can, with your help, to bring his message of hope to more and more people each day.
I am here because I believe so deeply that our world needs The Christophers' message today just as much as it did in 1945. I am convinced that if we live each day "lighting one candle" the world becomes a better place, a place with more hope.
In the meantime, if you have examples of people who are making a difference let me know by note or e-mail. I'd love to hear from you.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail:email@example.com.)
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