This is a transcript of Marty Buganski's exhortation at the 45th Anniversary Banquet of the People of Hope:
Happy Anniversary brothers and sisters and Happy Easter! 45 years! We are here tonight to celebrate 45 years as a people, as a community!
Such a milestone gives evidence to the organic nature of our life. There are many brothers and sisters who were here when the community began on May 1st, 1977 or came in the years shortly thereafter, who have gone onto their heavenly reward. And then there are about 1/3rd of the people in this room tonight who weren’t even born when the community began. I myself was just a Senior in high school at the time.
A lot has happened in 45 years. So much has changed in the world and in the church since 1977. It would be impossible for me to recall tonight everything that has taken place in the community in the past 4 and ½ decades. But for a moment consider, for 45 years, we have gathered for men’s and women’s groups, for worship, teachings, and retreats. We have celebrated births, baptisms, marriages, anniversaries, ordinations and consecrations to the celibate life and holy deaths.
We have experienced times of great joy and times of heartbreaking trials and loss. Through this all there is woven one common thread. The grace of our God in action! In Isaiah 26:12 we read, “O Lord you mete out peace to us, for it is you who have accomplished all we have done.”
In a few minutes we will renew our covenant as we do every year at this banquet. The preface of our covenant, which is the framework for our commitment, begins with these words, “God is inviting us to know, love and serve him in the Catholic Church in a special way, as members of The People of Hope.” God’s invitation was the inspiration and the sustaining force of 45 years of community life. Further on we read, “It is then with deep joy and gratitude, realizing the overwhelming goodness of God in giving us this opportunity that we enter into the covenant the Lord is making with us. At the heart of our covenant with one another is God, and it is because of the His overwhelming goodness that we have this life and that it has endured for 45 years. Yet, 45 years seems so little in God’s eyes.
We read in Psalm 105:8
He has remembered His covenant forever, The word which He commanded to a thousand generations
Let's read that again:
He has remembered His covenant FOREVER, The word which He commanded to a THOUSAND GENERATIONS.
Now, I’m not saying that the People of Hope will be around for a thousand generations. Such things are in God’s hands. But I believe that God has so much more for us brothers and sisters. So much more that he wants to do for us, in us and through us. We are God’s work, we are his People of Hope.
As we look at the world around us, I can’t help but think we were made for a time such as this. In midst of such division, turmoil, confusion, and loneliness, we a small band of brothers and sisters, with all our limitations, and with all our sins have dared to hope in God. To hope in the promise to receive a hundredfold in this lifetime, to hope for the grace to endure trials and persecution and the hope to live with him forever in our heavenly home. We have dared to make a commitment to one another knowing that we would fall short, knowing that we would disappoint and fail one another. One might reasonably ask, “why are you so hopeful and why would you make such a commitment?” Because it is our hope in God and our commitment to one another that makes our life possible. It is our hope in God and our commitment to one another that makes our life a witness to the Gospel.
The longer I live this life, the more I realize the great gift that I have been given, the great gift that we’ve all been given. And that this gift was meant to be shared with all those we meet.
Far from perfect, we are earthen vessels that show the all-surpassing power is from God and not from us and yet as our dear brother Bob McCabe Sr. of happy memory, would often say, I am a rich man. Indeed, we are all rich people.
So, brothers and sisters as we enter our 46th year as a community and look forward to our 50th anniversary and beyond let us once again accept God’s invitation. Let us once again dare to hope in God, let us once again dare to commit ourselves to one another and to be a People of Hope for the world around us.
God bless you and happy anniversary!
- Marty Buganski, Senior Coordinator of the People of Hope
45th Anniversary Encouragement Video
As we celebrate 45 years of the Lord's faithfulness, we also look ahead with joy! If you haven't had a chance yet, watch our two minute 45th Anniversary Encouragement Video and call to action from the People of Hope Office staff.
This is part of our ongoing project to collect media from all of our years as a community as well as to create new media to celebrate our life together. Please contact us with any photos or if you have any interest in helping with future projects.
To watch or share the video check out our People of Hope video page at www.peopleofhope.net/video
EXCERPT: "For 45 years, we, the People of Hope,have been faithful to our charism and calling: Hope. Hope for each other, and hope for the world. And it's with hope that we enter this next step, this next era. We have hope in the Lord's goodness. We have hope for the next 45 years. And why? Because Jesus is Lord! And he is faithful."