There are many ways to support a good cause. Two years ago, Charlotte Comfort Home was an idea to provide compassion and care to the dying in Wyoming County. Tim Kibler, the hospice director, shared that this project would be a “community effort by the community.” This project has grown from a grass roots effort of local people who plan campaigns that have included wine and spirit nights, theatre by a professional ballet, Arcade and Attica railroad mystery dinner theatre and now the invitation to buy greeting cards for the holidays to provide encouragement and celebration for those special occasions. However, the artist for these cards comes from a local pastor who enjoys landscape photography that parallels his ministry as a storyteller.
Fr. Matt currently serves as “shepherd” (pastor) at Holy Family Catholic Parish in North Java, New York. Since the 90’s he started his journey as a photo journalist taking pictures for science projects. In 2002, he was invited into the home of Mr. OJ Roth, a 45 year photo journalist with Eastman Kodak. “It’s all about the light” OJ would teach as Fr. Matt worked as an apprentice for three years learning the art of storytelling through the lens. While tourist are taking selfies and shooting their travel adventures on their cell phones. “I research each location and work up a sweat moving around the image and capturing every possible angle to tell the story. I am often surprised how one angle may tell a bigger story than another angle. The time of day, the light, the weather, the shadow and pattern can set the image apart from one that is merely a snapshot into stunning moment that makes one stand in awe of God’s wonderful creation.”
Father Matt served as chaplain at Strong Memorial Hospital from 1992 to 2000. He was a trauma specialist in New York City on 9/11 and acutely aware of how hurting people need support in times of crisis. Charlotte Home will be open to everyone to help provide respite and comfort to families and their loved ones. Currently, the facility will be located in the former St. Nicholas rectory located in North Java. At this time, demolition has been completed and volunteers from the county are being invited to donate their talents. Skilled laborers of all kinds are needed like carpenters, electricians and heating and cooling specialists to redesign the building. Local dealers are being asked to donate materials needed to restore the building into a two-bedroom facility for patients and family. The estimated cost would be over $250,000 but people are being asked to donate their skills and materials to keep the costs under $100,000. The volunteer committee hopes that patients will be served starting in the Spring fo 2019. Families will not be charged for using this facility.
Fr. Matt enjoys storytelling and focuses his pastoral ministry on making the gospel stories of Jesus relevant and meaningful to his faith community. Landscape photography can tell a story that conveys a mood of comfort and celebration. With the help of his friends at the Norberg Art Gallery in East Aurora where his landscapes are on display. Amanda, the gallery owner, and Marie, a Holy Family parishioner, helped select ten images that will be on sale to support Charlotte Comfort Home.
The images selected feature: a sunrise over Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park Montana, sunburst over the Athabasca Icefield in Alberta, Canada, Alleghany State Park, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, Winterthur in Wilmington, Delaware, bluebells in Bethany, bleeding hearts from Nashua, dogwoods in Irondequoit, and reflections from the arboretum in Lexington, Kentucky.
The greeting cards are 5 ½ x 4 ¼ and blank inside so that a personal message may be written. Packets will include five images based on the themes of celebration and encouragement. It is my hope that people will enjoy these images and use them as gifts for their family and friends and know that they are supporting an important ministry of compassion to the people in Wyoming County.
To make a purchase contact Fr. Matt via email address: email@example.com or call his office at 585-586-8650.