By Diane Bostick 

The Brady Faith Center’s annual “God Love Ya” Awards celebration on Oct. 24 served up hope and faith along with tasty French toast and bacon.

Father Clifford Auth, a member of the BFC Board, started the day with his plea at the BFC’s annual Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Syracuse: “It’s time to throw aside fear, and misconceptions, allowing the leaders (from the church in the community) to listen to your stories and help the church achieve what is possible.”

The Brady Faith Center is named for Msgr. Charles J. Brady, who was known as a person for others. He died in 1978. The faith center offers almost two dozen programs and says its mission is “to meet the spiritual, educational, and social needs of individuals and families in the Southwest Community of Syracuse. The Ministry maintains a presence throughout the neighborhood, serving residents of all ages through Eucharistic liturgies, human development, and educational and religious programs. Services are provided at the Brady Faith Center on South Avenue, as well as through visits to the sick, the incarcerated, families in their homes, and wherever support is needed.”

“Our ‘God Love Ya’ winners exemplify a Christian witness to service, compassion and kinship in both the Brady Faith Center community and the wider Syracuse community,” said BFC Executive Director Kevin Frank.

Typically, the BFC presents its awards at a breakfast attended by almost 500 people at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. But after the Mass this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, a small group of BFC members met at the new Brady Market, a BFC mission at 307 Gifford St., to celebrate the event, while others watched virtually from their homes.

Concentrated at the back of the freshly stocked grocery store are training, meeting and counseling spaces with a meeting hall. The market has about 18 workers who receive counseling and job training and also learn life skills. “I can’t wait to come here to work every day,” said Care Coordinator Jessica Porchello. “I love it here. It’s what I trained for.”

Syracuse youths could find their way on their own to a job or a better life but it seems the Brady approach accelerates this process.

“The ones that leave from the program, go to better jobs,” Executive Director Frank said. “That’s what we are all about. From day one they receive pay and have access to everything here. It’s a safe haven and launch pad.”

Carmelita Howard was humbled by winning her “God Love Ya” award. When asked why she was chosen, she said, “Well, I share my faith with everyone, every chance I get. My mother was a ‘Brady Brat’ before me, even my grandmother. We all worked with Father Brady many years ago.”

Other award winners this year included Jim and Eileen Clinton and Trevor and Eunice Williams.

Syracuse resident Diane Bostick is a freelance writer, actress and book publisher. She is currently publishing a set of children’s Christmas stories. She enjoys standup comedy as a hobby and her husband, Magic, inspires most of her comedy material.

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