BY:  JULIA TURCHIANO, GR. 7

ST. FRANCIS de SALES CATHOLIC ACADEMY

A man of service and leadership who has been known throughout the Rockaway community is Patrick Morgan.   As the oldest son of five, loving husband, father of two, and grandfather to five girls, he always set a good example in his Roman Catholic family. As his brother John once said “He was a tough act to follow,” and all that knew Morgan would agree.  When Morgan was younger he always convinced his brothers and sisters to go to their local parish and help clean up. Mr. Patrick Morgan went through many hardships in his life including his mother passing away at a young age, getting diagnosed with Leukemia after his first granddaughter was born, and having to carry around an oxygen tank with him in order to breathe as he traveled throughout the neighborhood. Patrick Morgan put on a brave face, didn’t complain, and put others first no matter what he was facing.                                 

   As an adult Morgan continued to lead his own service projects, even while battling cancer, to fundraise money for the less fortunate.   Morgan contributed his time and service to the Sisters of Mercy in Dorothy Bennett Center and the Catholic Church. Before he got sick he worked a full time job and volunteered helping adult immigrants learn English with his limited spare time at the center. Even when Morgan became ill he continued to dedicate his time to the Sisters of Mercy but mostly over the phone and on the computer. Eventually, the Sisters of Mercy elected Morgan as their leader and chairperson to help develop the center further.  He was able to get air conditioning, new paint, up-to-date computers and other equipment for the center. After 13 years of volunteering, he passed away and the Sisters of Mercy dedicated a room to him as a tribute to his service and leadership. 

The life Morgan lived left an impact on others, such as his family members, the community, and even  his friend Jim Cunningham, a St. Francis de Sales Reverend. Morgan was comforted when Cunningham came to visit him to talk, laugh and pray together when he was very sick. They discussed the many times in Morgan’s life where he was able to find time for others and reflect on the impact of his work.  At Morgan’s funeral mass, Reverend Cunningham shared a little about their talks. He shared that at one point, Pat Morgan looked up and asked, “Have I done enough?” Reverend Cunningham stated that he told Morgan that he was humbled by the question because most people including himself have not contributed half as much to society as Pat did before his passing. 

“Have I done enough?” left the church assembly and the family to reflect on their contributions to society. It was up to them to learn from Pat Morgan’s service and look for ways to give back to the community. As a young person you may ask yourself “What can I do to make a difference?” In your community, there are many ways to help. You can help your community by cleaning up in the environment, participating in mass, doing random acts of kindness, and always finding ways to make a difference in someone’s life. You can talk to your local parish and ask about teen groups and community service opportunities. It is time to give back and find ways that you can lead and influence others to help out in your community. It is time to ask yourself, Have you done enough?

Patrick Morgan photos for The Tablet Jr.