August 12, 2007 – Pastor Manuel Chavier Sr. Memorial Banquet

Good afternoon to the congregation of the International Church of the Nazarene, to Mrs. Elizabeth Chavier, to Pastor Manuel Chavier Jr., to all of Pastor Chavier’s children, family and friends, to all of you, our distinguished guests on this memorable day.  A special appreciation to the church’s inspirational choir.  Thank you for inviting me to participate in this celebration of the Pastor’s life.

First I want to state my admiration for the Chavier family and for Pastor Manuel Chavier Jr..  The past year has been challenging in many ways for our City and this church, following many winding paths, and Reverend Chavier you have shown your devotion to the church and the community and the City time and time again. A year ago, our community, and the City of New Bedford, lost a great man of the cloth, and a true humanitarian and leader.

One year later we honor him and pause to reflect on Pastor Manuel Chavier’s contribution to our society.  One year later we miss his presence in body but acknowledge his daily presence in our minds and spirit and our souls.

Pastor Chavier changed thousands of lives for the better, for the goodness of God.  He chose the City of Light to spread the light of the Lord.  His positive impact can be seen throughout New Bedford, in the people who knew and loved him, the children, the families, the teachers, the clerks, the mechanics, the laborers, the bakers, the sales persons, the police officers, the nurses, the doctors, the professionals, all of us, the everyday men and women who found his thoughtful remarks, his religious preaching, his prayers to be a source of solace, a source of comfort, and a tremendous source of strength, spreading God’s message of love and all of its component parts: an understanding and respect for our fellow men and women, forgiveness, tolerance, and confidence, and pride in ourselves… these were his life lessons.

He also had a keen awareness of progress, of moving forward, of the importance of education to molding a responsible, hardworking, righteous community.  He believed that “Love” began at home but that “home” may take many shapes and forms and “home” was never limited to bricks and mortar.

Here we are a year later- once again celebrating his life, but with an eye on the future.  As mayor of our great city, I believe we must build on his legacy of “love” for the purpose of connecting and guiding our young people.  Direct communication with our future can be accomplished simply by taking a prominent role in our children’s lives, our grandchildren’s lives, our nieces’ and nephews’ lives, the lives of the children of our City.  Looking around this hall I see a gleaming light of positive influence, great knowledge, experience, compassion, devoutness, industriousness, and true “love” ready to be shared.  Let us take our children’s minds and spirits back from society’s inappropriate messages- the violent, inappropriate television shows, the disrespectful, negative music, the movies that make us blush or hide our eyes or both, and most importantly, let’s eliminate the violent video games that have young people confusing violence and pornographic images with entertainment.  Real people, responsible adults, everyone in this hall, nurturing, mentoring, and being involved with their families and New Bedford’s children, is the answer to ensuring a positive future for our community, for our City, and for our country.

Pastor Chavier led a positive life, and taught day to day positive life experiences, and taught and preached the lessons of the Bible in this manner and spirit.  Let us all follow his continuing example to help shape and improve the lives of all of God’s children, starting here and now in the City of New Bedford.