Three saints remind us that holy people are happy people

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Three saints remind us that holy people are happy people

Although the Gospels frequently refer to rejoicing in Christ, too often the image of Christians is anything but joyful. Instead, religious people are often perceived as grim and severe. Watch this video to learn about three saints whose famous good humor and happiness offer a cheering example of how joyful the Christian life can (and should!) be.

St. Philip Neri was called “the saint of joy.” His special talent for human relationships and for bringing out the best in people enabled him to evangelize very effectively. He drew crowds of friends with his warm personality and great sense of humor, and then he encouraged his listeners, “Well, brothers, when shall we begin to do good?” In his lifetime, countless people loved and respected him, and he always pointed them to Christ.

St. Thomas More was known as “the apostle of good humor.” His life was certainly not an easy one; he lost many people dear to him—including three siblings, his parents, and his beloved wife—and finally lost his position of respect and authority as King Henry VII’s trusted advisor to instead be executed for failing to support the king’s marriage to Anne Boleyn. Yet throughout these trials and many more, he was known for his unfailing good humor, even telling jokes to his executioner as he approached the scaffold.

“I am reproached for mingling jokes, witty remarks and teasing words with more serious subjects,” he once wrote, as reported in this article. “I believe that the truth can be told laughing. It is certainly more fitting for a layman, as I am, to pass on his thoughts in a cheerful and lively manner rather than in a serious and solemn way like preachers.”

St. Francis of Assisi famously instructed his followers to have joy even in terrible trials, because suffering with Jesus would bring them to participate in his glorious resurrection. He was known for his frequent reminder, “Always be joyful!” and even described his religious order as a “society of joy” because he believed joy to be so integral to the Franciscan charism.

The lives of these three saints reveal the profound joy and inner peace that come with faith in Christ. The old proverb “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” certainly applies to evangelization, and indeed these cheerful saints brought about many conversions. Their famous good humor reminds us that “holy people are happy people,” and hopefully each person following Christ can find this same happiness for themselves.

St Albans Stand by your Saints founder given Maltings Community Award

St Albans football fan wins next Maltings Community Hero Award

PUBLISHED: 19:00 01 June 2018

Herts Advertiser The Maltings Community Hero May Winner Lee Wood. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography – all rights reserved

A champion of local football said he is “humbled” to win the latest Maltings Community Hero Award.

Herts Advertiser The Maltings Community Hero May Winner Lee Wood. Picture: DANNY LOOHerts Advertiser The Maltings Community Hero May Winner Lee Wood. Picture: DANNY LOO

Three years ago Lee Wood, the owner of local design company Ember Designs and a 30-year supporter of St Albans City Football Club (SACFC), set up community group Stand by your Saints (SBYS).

Run entirely by volunteers, SBYS has worked to integrate the club more firmly within the community – setting up match transport for elderly supporters, working with Home-Start Herts to install a soft play area at the club, and raising money for facilities at Clarence Park.

SYBS chairman Lee has also supported the club’s interests at St Albans district council meetings and successfully applied for a community grant.

Lee said he wants to make the club more inclusive: “I don’t think the football club should just be games at the token 3pm on a Saturday – St Albans needs a community hub where despite age and race, anyone can go and feel involved – and the football club can do that.

“This award means three years of working with some of the best people in the city. It isn’t all down to me, I am part of a fantastic team and we have had full support from the football club.”

He said since introducing the soft play area, which includes high chairs and baby changing facilities, more families have enjoyed SACFC games.

The 39-year-old also revamped SACFC’s shop and merchandise sales before setting up SBYS.

Going forward, he would like to engage with local schools, encouraging children to be active and participate in sports.

SBYS partnered this year with Verulamium At Play, the charity dedicated to refurbishing the playground in Verulamium Park.

Lee added: “I feel very humbled, it was a nice surprise when I got the phone call.”

As the winner of this month’s entries, Lee receives £100 to spend in any of The Maltings’ shops and is entered into the Herts Advertiser Community Awards finals in the autumn.

To nominate someone for next month’s award, email with the name of the nominee, their contact details and your name and contact details.

Every day saints throughout the community | Columns |

“To me, there are saints every day. They stand up and help others and live for others and do things for others.” – Theodore Melfi

Full disclosure, I had to Google Theodore Melfi to find out who he was, but I like what he had to say about saints in our community. I believe Adams County has many and our agency succeeds in great part because of their willingness to stand up and help others.

In this season, and as the end of the year approaches, we are especially grateful for the support the Adams County Office for Aging Inc. (ACOFA) receives from our community. Many of the townships and boroughs in Adams County make donations from their budgets in support of our agency and toward the cost of services provided to residents of their municipalities. We also appreciate everyone who came to visit our table or donated during the recent Giving Spree. Contributions to our agency are put toward the cost of providing services which will help older adults stay in their homes for as long as possible.

Thank you as well to all those donating presents, gift boxes, food certificates and other items during the holiday season including Cross Keys Village, Family Holiday Outreach, Upper Adams Jaycees, Home Instead Senior Care (Be A Santa To A Senior) and Wolf’s Bus Lines (2nd annual Stuff-a-Bus campaign.) In addition, there are many individuals and groups who have made quilts and lap robes or knitted scarves, caps and afghans which will help keep our consumers cozy and warm this winter.

Speaking of saints in our community, on Friday, we completed the 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Period. We are extremely grateful for our devoted APPRISE volunteers who spent many, many hours helping several hundred people sort through their coverage options to choose a plan for next year. These counselors helped people review their coverage and sometimes make a change that will provide better care or save money. As important, if not more so, their counsel helps to alleviate anxiety and bring clarity during a confusing time.

Today an APPRISE counselor is back in our office talking with people who need help. If you have an end of the year deadline to meet; or if you are getting ready to enroll in Medicare; or if you believe you may be eligible for a program that helps people with limited income, please give us a call at 717-334-9296 and make an APPRISE appointment.

As the cold wind blows and it’s not as pleasant to be outside, remember there are seven senior centers around the county ready to welcome anyone age 60-plus to join in. Each place has its own schedule and hours of operation. All have fun holiday events and outings on their calendars this month. For a calendar or a list of centers, call ACOFA or visit our website at

By the way and thanks for reading to the end – Theodore Melfi is a film writer, director and producer, known most recently for his work on the film, Hidden Figures.

From all of us at the Adams County Office for Aging, best wishes for safe, happy holidays and a healthy next year.

Linda Thompson is the community services director at the Adams County Office for Aging Inc.