This is one of the “stories behind the vocation stories” that adds the “color.” You will want to make the time when you have time. Nice stuff.
But first, let us ask ourselves, how often does it happen that three brothers all end up becoming Deacons! How beautiful is this? And the Clores family is blessed to know them well.
[See this week’s TLIC feature on the Bonocores but read on first to better appreciate this!]
To this piece, I add ‘my take’ on the Bonocore “Boys” and let you figure out what God is doing! As the saying goes…”For your discernment.” As Dale’s big day approaches — and he will be ordained tomorrow morning — I am both laughing and grinning ear to ear. You may find that an odd reaction but you have to understand. When God called these guys, He was really working “outside the box”. Talk about New Evangelization. Jesus, I Trust in You!
The day I received the phone call that our oldest son Michael more than likely had cancer(10 years back), I was sitting at my desk at the A. J. Bonocore Insurance Agency. I had been working for the family for roughly two years by that time. It was mid-afternoon, and both of my employers were out on appointments so they had no idea that this was taking place. I will return to that point. But first to the humor.
I ended up working for Anthony Bonocore and his sons because Michael Bonocore reached out to a mutual Catholic friend, Irene, and asked her if she knew any faithful Catholic women who might be interested in a part-time secretarial opening. Not one hour earlier, I had mentioned to that same friend that I was looking for part-time employment and asked her to keep her ears open for me! The very next day, I was in Michael’s office and hesitantly telling him that I had no experience in the Insurance business.
Michael (who has the craziest personality and rides a motorcycle) said “I don’t care about that. This is what’s important to me. Have you made your Consecration to Mary yet?” You can imagine how taken aback I was. I laughed and said “Well, no, I haven’t.” Michael said “What kind of girl is Irene sending me! We have to take care of this immediately!” He picked up the phone and called her Catholic shop and said “Irene, put one Consecration To Mary on hold for Peggy. She’ll be by later to pick it up. Put it on my tab. She didn’t realize that it was a job requirement.”
Please understand that when I say “outside the box”, this Michael was sitting there with a do-rag on his head (in fact he owned a whole collection of them) as an insurance agent, while telling me of this “requirement”.
Life at the Bonocore Agency was crazy. Always some kind of “Catholic drama” going down. (I guess some might say, “You must have fit in perfectly, Peggy.” No comments from the peanut gallery.) Definitely not your run of the mill water cooler discussions by any stretch! The discussions went from the hilarious to the serious. But there was no doubt about it. The Catholic Faith was a big deal to these guys. (Dale was a bit calmer than Michael. But not much! Oh yes. He rode a motorcycle, too.) Somewhere in there, their younger brother from New Jersey entered the Diaconate. The men were so excited but there wasn’t a whisper of a clue — at least not to me! — that the other two would eventually follow.
Then came the day our family ended up in Winthrop Cancer Center for Kids. I called my co-worker, updated her that the news was definite and serious and to relay the message to Michael and Dale that I was going to need some time off to sort all of this out. The next morning, while the doctor was prepping Michael for the spinal tap, I heard a big commotion in the waiting room. I heard the nurses saying, “But you can’t give blood at this center. We have to send you to a Blood Center.” It was Dale and Michael. They asked if we were there and could they see us. You have to know these guys. They won’t take “no” for an answer and patience was hardly their dominant virtue. (One would hope that in their ‘ordained state’ they will grow in both temperance and patience and channel all their force for the good!)
Together ‘the Sons of Thunder’ (good grief) continued on to burst into the examination room! There they were. Crack of dawn. Flew to our side and from there forward, couldn’t do enough. How they lifted our spirits. (I could tell the doctor and staff were a little taken aback by their overwhelming ‘presence’, you might say!) After the Bonocore boys got the ‘low down’, Michael Bonocore went on to say (with forearms outstretched and not quietly), “We came rushing down here to give blood with our arms like this! We said ‘Where do we go to give blood!! Where do we give blood!’ We were crushed that we couldn’t give it immediately!!” (Our Michael was going to be in need of many transfusions.) “We want to give it now!!” They were so intense, you couldn’t help but be touched. Later that day, the Bonocore brothers made their way to a Blood Center.
Many times during that first month of intense chemo and transfusions, when we had to sit at the Cancer Center all day, Michael would burst into the place and entertain our Michael in every sense of the word! They played chess, they told jokes, while Michael did his best to keep up our son’s spirits. In preparation for the hair loss to come, Michael Bonocore presented our Michael with his very own ‘official’ do-rag! It was so consoling to see our Michael laugh whenever Michael would show up! The Bonocore family were all very good and very generous throughout and held my job open indefinitely. Michael and Dale also went to work immediately setting up this site invoking prayers, donations, and help on our family’s behalf. Looking at this link, how could we not have seen the “Deacon” handwriting on the wall!
Oh yes. I neglected to mention that not a few times, Michael Bonocore would tease our Michael saying, “Do you think they put my blood in you yet?!” and then let loose with a hilarious laughing fit. I would roll my eyes and say, “We’ll know when Michael starts acting crazy.” For years, I’ve said to Michael that our Michael will never be normal because of it. And he laughs some more.
I hope you enjoyed a piece of one of the “stories behind the Vocation story”. On a serious note, God surely did know what He was doing asking three brothers to step up to the plate.
We wish Dale all the best as Deacon Mike and Deacon Steve vest him in the morning! Hope to make it to the Cathedral but our prayers are always with you!!!
Hope your vestments don’t get tangled in the wheels of your motorcycles!!
Peggy and the Clores Family!