Office of Pro-Life Activities Director, Cheryl Calire (right) thanks Bishop Edward U. Kmiec after the blessing and dedication of the new St. Gianna outreach center.
Cheryl Calire’s life has changed significantly since having been appointed director of the Office for Pro-Life Activities in the diocese a year ago.
“I am pleased to say I love my work for the people of the Diocese of Buffalo,” Calire said. “When I took over as interim director in September of last year, it was not in my plan to accept the role in January 2011, but after prayerful consideration, I realized it was God’s plan. After being officially appointed by Bishop (Edward U.) Kmiec, I accepted that role, and have been blessed by many who support his decision. The cooperation and welcome I have received by the clergy, the parishes and from the diocese has been so affirming that I have been truly blessed and given the graces to take on this most challenging role.”
Calire said she has learned a lot in her first year of service.
“I have learned that the people of the Diocese of Buffalo are most willing and anxious to help, if given the opportunity to truly understand the mission of the office and the plan outlined by the bishop,” she said. “There are many ways in which an individual, as well as a parish community, can become involved through the varied activities offered in their parish, as well as the diocese.”
Calire said one of her most difficult challenges was to ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach to bringing the latest information to individual parish communities.
“We are going to begin quarterly workshops starting this coming year, and have announced at our in-service in September that I am looking for input from the coordinators as to the topics they would like hear and learn more about. This will allow them the opportunity to bring them to parish level, whether it is in a meeting setting or their own workshop for the parishioners and community.”
Calire said that while she has had many teachable and learning moments in her first year, she has also other memorable times.
“We have been blessed with many lives saved through the St. Gianna Pregnancy Outreach Center sponsored by our office,” she said. “I have come to know how these little ones are doing, and keep in touch with many of the families that we have helped through the ministry. I affectionately accept the title of “Miss Cheryl,” from most of them.”
Calire described some of the changes that will be implemented in the upcoming months.
“Due to an overwhelming response and interest, the Diocese of Washington, in conjunction with the Diocese of Buffalo, is implementing some new procedures for the youth attending the March for Life in Washington, D.C., which will be held on Monday, Jan. 23,” Calire said. “While the changes are for the benefit of all who will be attending, they can expect a little more paperwork, along with some patience as we implement the new program for youth.”
Calire was happy to report that some of her goals have already been accomplished. Some of her short-term goals were met in the first six months by having an open door, open phone policy.
“I have learned from people in the diocese what they would like to see and hear from our office, and wherever possible, have taken that into consideration,” Calire said. “We have even let them implement the idea themselves.”
Calire cited the example of the Harvey’s Sign Project recently launched by the office which was the brainchild of Matt Boyle, a parish Respect Life coordinator.
“He presented his idea to our office, and I am happy to say the banner project is a huge success,” Calire said. “Another is a diaper drive program being launched by Gene Mendrysa to benefit St. Gianna Pregnancy Outreach, to keep the supply levels needed at the ministry.”
Calire said there are more sides to the Office of Pro-Life Activities than people realize.
“I would like everyone to know that they have my commitment to the office and for all life issues,” she said. “Along with my counterparts across the state, for example, I reviewed and helped implement the bishops of New York State booklet entitled “Now and at the Hour of Our Death,” through workshops, email and Respect Life meetings. There are many facets of our office, and this is just one example of how we may reach our mature population with some valuable information for themselves as well as for their families.
While many challenges still remain, Calire looks forward to working to foster respect for life.
“I find it gives me an opportunity to educate and enlighten some who I may not have reached otherwise,” she said. “I still begin each day by saying, ‘Lord, I am here to do your work. What do You have for me today?’ He keeps me very busy.”
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