Maryknoll’s administrative assistant in Buffalo furthers the Reign of God
[googlefont font=“Cormorant Infant” fontsize=”20″]by Paul Bork[/googlefont]
Faithful service and commitment to mission are the two phrases that best describe Kathleen Gilbert’s relationship with Maryknoll. She has been using her clerical expertise and commitment to the Church to advance Maryknoll’s mission ministries since 1995.
Kathy is our Maryknoll Buffalo Office’s dedicated administrative assistant. Kathy was involved in service in her parish of St. Mark’s in Buffalo, N.Y., long before joining our Maryknoll staff. She served as director of the parish Renew program, taught in the religious education program, participated in the Retreat for a Better World and Christian Life Community programs, and, with her husband of 51 years, Dick Gilbert, coordinated St. Mark’s RCIA program. She summarizes all of these leadership roles simply as “bringing people together to form community.”
Kathy and Dick have sponsored exchange students from Mexico, Ecuador, Brazil, Spain and France. They and their three children went even further in their commitment to the Gospel by welcoming a Vietnamese refugee into their home. Ten-year-old Khanh lived with the Gilbert family for five years, and then they helped his family settle here in Buffalo. Khanh is now a successful computer engineer with an exemplary Catholic family of his own.
The goals of bringing people together and building community have guided Kathy in her work with Maryknoll. As a Maryknoll Affiliate, she sees herself as a missionary disciple of Jesus and takes every opportunity she can to promote mission and Maryknoll. She will speak with fellow parishioners about mission vocations, including the overseas ministries of Buffalo natives Maryknoll Fathers John Barth, who serves in South Sudan, and Doug May, who served in Egypt. Kathy and Dick have supported the work of these Maryknoll friends for several decades.
Kathy has also come to know, respect and support Maryknoll Father Bob McCahill through his visits to the Maryknoll Buffalo Office. She is eager to tell people how the priest engages in interfaith dialogue with his Muslim neighbors in Bangladesh.
As a true partner in mission, Kathy takes her work far beyond her job description. She is enthusiastic in scheduling mission education opportunities and church appeals for our Maryknoll priests and brothers and has been indefatigable in preparing gatherings such as our benefactor appreciation days and ordination anniversaries for Maryknollers from the area. Her warmth and graciousness create community for all our guests.
Kathy says her involvement with Maryknoll has sharpened her focus on the important basics of her faith. She credits the witness of the many Maryknoll missioners she has come to know over the years. “It’s been great meeting Maryknoll missioners and hearing about their different experiences all over the world,” she says. “I value their simplicity and brilliance.”
And Kathy values her ongoing contact with missioners like Maryknoll Father Dennis Cleary, another Buffalo native, who regularly gives accent reduction classes here at our Maryknoll office for foreign priests who come to work in Buffalo and need help speaking English so they can be better understood by their congregations.
In the midst of her own service to God’s people, Kathy exhibits the joy of the Gospel, joy she lives through her many fruitful relationships that build community and further the Reign of God here and now. She and Dick are faithful partners in mission with Maryknoll, and we are grateful that she continues to be a part of our Maryknoll community.
Featured Image: Kathy Gilbert reflects the joy of the Gospel from her desk at Maryknoll’s Buffalo office. (P. Bork/U.S.)