Culture of love and life-Witnesses to love and life
Witness to Love and Life: Fr. Alfred Cioffi
by Sr. Maria Teresa Acosta, sctjm
Working as a hospital Chaplain I encounter life and death issues
everyday. It amazes me the diversity in race, culture and religion
that I deal and relate with. Many people that are different yet the
same. The same because we all share in the same dignity of the human
person rooted in being created in the image and likeness of God.
My experience in Chaplaincy ministry allows me to be part and
present in very special moments in the lives of people. I’m present
in their sufferings, physical and spiritually. I see their fears,
struggles, hopelessness, loneliness, and pain. But most important
I’m there to hear their stories, stories that become part of my
heart, my life journey and spiritual growth. I pray that in every
visit and encounter with patients, family members or hospital staff
I will be able to transmit the Marian charism of our congregation:
to be the presence and image of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
I call these encounters with patients, “sacred moments” or “divine
appointments.” They are a precious gift from God!.
I would like to relate the following story based on my visits this
past week. It is the story of the ultimate gift of love and hope
given by a wonderful witness to life.
I heard that a Catholic Priest was admitted to the hospital because
he was offering to give one of his kidneys to a parishioner who was
in danger of death if she did not receive a transplant.
immediately found out who the priest was. He is a priest form our
Archdiocese, Father Alfred
Cioffi. For many years I have known Father Cioffi to be a tireless
defender of human life and dignity. Now I see him living out what he
teaches: giving of himself to protect life. Just this last April,
Father received the
2007 Archdiocesan Respect Life Award.
On different occasions I have seen people give their organs for a
family member in need. But this was the first time I encounter a
Catholic priest giving one of his organs to save the life of a
parishioner. What a beautiful gift of sacrificial love and life! My
heart was deeply moved to see Father Cioffi’s joyful offering. When
I visited him he was happy and in a simple manner said to me, “I
thought to myself, I only need one kidney, not two”. To me Father
Cioffi is an example of a shepherd that gives his life for his
sheep. “I’m the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life
for the sheep”. (St. John 10:11).
It is a story of the ultimate gift of love and hope. It is a witness
to the world of the sacredness of human life and the sublime calling
of the priestly vocation. Life is a gift from God and we have to do
every thing possible to defend and protect it. Priests and religious
in a particular way are called to be pierced out of love for others
to have life. This is the great mystery of our vocation and also the
message Father Cioffi is giving to all of us, our local church and
to the world.
I have been challenged by Father Cioffi’s testimony to a deeper
reflection on the issues of life, death and organ donation. I ask
myself: Am I willing to do the same, to give of myself like Father
Cioffi for some one in need? As a religious in the Church I’m called
to give life, to “love to the extreme”. I pray and ask the Lord for
the grace to be like “the Pelican”, a very important symbol for our
congregation, always ready to be pierced out of love and share in
the ultimate gift of love so others may have life. “Greater love has
no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” ( John
Thank you, Fr. Cioffi. We love you and honor you for being a
Catholic priest ready to take a step forward to offer your life for
others. May St. Maximilian Kolbe intercede for your prompt recovery.
We are with you!!
Listen to Fr. Cioffi’s conferences on Stem Cell Research >>>
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and
Copyright © 2006- SCTJM