By Dyann Nashton
A quarter of a century can be as fleeting as the beat of a heart. But in that time, programs can be conceived, people can be welcomed and lives can be renewed. This is how it has been for the Good News Foundation of CNY, Inc. The organization established by the faith-filled Scheidelman and Droz families is celebrating its 25-year anniversary.
A recent event held to commemorate the milestone saw guests from all walks of life and across the country gather to mark the occasion. Executive Director and CEO Michael Buckley quoted John 4:37: “Some sow the seed that others will reap.” He said, “The verse is a tribute to Deacon John and Elizabeth Droz who put in motion the force behind evangelization, the mission and vision” of the foundation.
The organization was founded by Leroy and Hazel Scheidelman and the Droz families. Buckley said the Center is a place “where people can heal and thrive in their walk with God.”
Bishop Robert J. Cunningham noted that he first met Elizabeth and John Droz in another diocese while in Old Forge and he was delighted to be a part of the anniversary celebration of their efforts. He said Pope Paul VI said the evangelization of all people constitutes a defining element of the Church. “Every Christian is challenged here and now to be actively engaged in evangelization,” he said.
Bishop Cunningham noted the “assaults against families and the challenges faced by husbands and wives.” He said the community is grateful for the programs offered at the Good News Center that “foster healthier and happier” families and parishes. “I hope it continues through the next 25 years and moves toward a glorious golden jubilee,” Bishop Cunningham said.
Ed Paparella, a founding board member, said he remembers when Leroy Scheidelman “came in and looked ready to do business … to go out and do evangelization.” Paparella said that today that vision has been realized. “We have touched thousands of lives beyond even the Mohawk Valley …I pray every day for the Good News Foundation … and to fill all the pews in our churches. We have all the tools to make that happen. Mike [Buckley] and his team have the tools to make that happen.”
Elizabeth Scheidelman Droz, daughter of the founders, addressed guests and noted her interest in the St. Paul Street Evangelists who, like the Good News Foundation, utilize a true grassroots, non-confrontational way of reaching people with Christ’s message. She said she is “enchanted” with this method of evangelization. She applauded the manner in which this group has “made practicing Catholics enthused and non-practicing Catholics return to the Church.”
Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente, Jr. honored the Good News Foundation with a proclamation naming the day in honor of the organization. “There’s always been the separation of church and state, but there’s a crucifix right behind my desk … Without faith our community cannot move, grow, and be strong. The Good News Foundation provides the guidance we need. What they have accomplished here in 25 years is God’s gift.”
Buckley explained that “hope” is a key word in the work of the Good News Foundation. “When people are in pain, they don’t know how to put life back together again. They call us on the phone. They need to be listened to and we come alongside of them to help put things back together. The secret ingredient is God.”
The Good News Foundation’s mission is to share the love of Jesus Christ through hospitality, spiritual renewal, and support of parish and family life. The center on Cosby Manor Road was once the property of the Vincentian Order and covers an expansive 63 acres. It features a Trail of Peace, Rosary Walk which includes the Stations of the Cross and a shrine to Our Lady of the Pines. Besides awarding grants that align with its mission, the foundation hosts programs including the Grief Survivors and Separated and Divorced support groups, The Third Option, Retrouvaille and Women at the Well programs, and Bible Study.
Dyann Nashton is a writer from Oneida.