In the first of a 3 part speech given March 24 before the Detective Steven McDonald Men's Prayer Group in Rockville Centre, Long Island, yours truly shared some "Irish insight" to this candidate for sainthood:
Praise the Lord in all His glory.
Thank you Kevin Conlin and the members of Detective Steven McDonald Men’s Prayer Group for the opportunity to “pinch hit” as speaker for this month’s meeting. What an invigorating event it was to march with our group and their families and friends on St. Patrick’s Day in NYC! It seemed the city has been waiting two years for this parade to herald the beginning of our return to the “normal” we have known and loved all these years -- and the crowd’s enthusiasm was overwhelming and cathartic.
During the march, Kevin invited me to speak, no particular topic named, and that my only prerequisite was to not be funnier than himself! And as daunting a task as that sounds, I promise to really put the brakes on the humor pedal tonight to not offend anyone in particular. (Wink, ha.)
In 2014, my son Frankie and niece Lizzy Phillips had the honor and great experience of meeting Steven at St. Anne’s Church in Garden City during their Confirmation program, a moment pictured above. It was a memorable moment to be sure and perhaps helped Frankie determine to give Chaminade a try. He graduated from there two years ago.
Fast forward five years to 2019 after “a series of unfortunate events” by yours truly, we (Patty and I) landed in a cabana at Atlantic Beach’s “Sun and Surf” Beach Club, where I met Kevin and his family BBQ grilling steaks, etc. on “G-Block”, the area behind our cabanas. Having learned from Kevin in more detail of Steven’s triumphant charity in bringing his compassion to share with others the spirit of forgiveness, two things became apparent to me: One, Steven lived his life in accordance with the fourth line of our Lord’s Prayer, “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” because he accepted and did not resist the subtle gift and blessed influence of the Holy Spirit in his life as promised to us by God’s only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
And second, what a terrible joke-teller Kevin is. (Ha.) No, only kidding. The second is, without doubt, bearing witness to the Holy Spirit’s impact on their friendship -- it’s as if watching, in slow motion, a glorious sunrise or the first fallen snow of winter to see the legacy of Steven and Kevin’s friendship transcend both separation and time only to become stronger as both their families grow. It is truly a blessing to behold and one we share together.
The enthusiastic advancement towards Steven’s sainthood presents to me a clear case of an early decision by virtue of “special dispensation” of his first official miracle. Let me explain. Detective Steven McDonald (is) a great American of Irish descent, whereby it is common knowledge among the Irish and non-Irish alike that an Irishman holds a grudge tighter and longer than a beer-mug handle at a soccer game or a mother with her newborn. So when an Irishman’s legacy and name become synonymous with perhaps the most difficult of all practiced virtues (self-justice through the forgiveness of others), yet one our mortal soul finds necessary for eternal life, we can only surmise this “forgiveness” is, in and of itself, a miracle.
So let’s keep this in mind as we move unabated to the goal of Steven’s sainthood, that when the good day comes and the Church officially recognizes Steven’s two miracles, we Irish can nod in quiet confidence, saying to ourselves: “That makes three!”
The Lamb of God is returning as the Lion of Judah. Are ye prepared? DMcL