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Remembering Fr. Lewis Brown and a special prayer he shared

Phil Palmesano
N.Y. Assemblyman

N.Y. Assemblyman

Phil Palmesano

Our community has lost a dedicated and caring servant. Fr. Lewis Brown recently passed away, leaving a hole in the heart of our community. Those who knew Fr. Brown know the word “servant” described him well. He served God. He served his country. And he served his community. 

Born and raised in Elmira, he served in several parishes in our region over his 53 years in the priesthood, including St. Ann in Hornell (1972–77), Immaculate Conception in Ithaca (1981–85) and most recently, since 2008, at All Saints Parish in Corning. Fr. Brown also served 22 years in the U.S. Navy as a chaplain. Fr. Brown’s life and vocation were dedicated to service. He will be greatly missed.

I want to take this opportunity to share and leave with you a special prayer that Fr. Brown shared with the N.Y.S. Legislature when he came to Albany in 2016 to give the opening-prayer in the Assembly and Senate. Although he modified the prayer to pray for the Legislature, the words of the prayer certainly apply to all of us, especially today, during these challenging times. So I will conclude this column with Fr. Brown’s word’s as he spoke them that day in the Assembly Chamber. I hope they mean as much to you as they meant to us.

“Mother Theresa would daily say the prayer of St. Francis, ‘Lord make me a channel of your peace…” Thinking about the prayer, she composed a like-minded one.

Persevere

People are often unreasonable,

Illogical and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind,

People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful,

You will win some false friends

And some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,

People may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building,

Someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,

They may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,

People will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,

And it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,

It is between you and God;

It was never about you and them anyway.’

Today, I add: Lord, guide our legislators in deliberating the issues that contribute to the welfare of our citizens, protect the environment, and unite us so that all may become better – Excelsior. Amen.”

Thank you, Fr. Brown for being a dedicated servant. Rest in peace.