|Volume LVI||October 2009||Number 3|
Miracles Happen Every Day
Bro. Michael Papinchak, Doric Lodge No. 630, Sewickley, is a firm believer in forces beyond himself. Through his faith and his commitment to the Masonic fraternity, he knows powers larger than a single person can accomplish great things. He senses it, and he has witnessed it.
One miracle involved his only child, Patricia, or "Patty." Patty was an accomplished senior at the School of Pharmacy of Purdue University and was an internship away from graduating when doctors discovered she had cancer. She passed away soon after and was awarded a degree posthumously.
One of Bro. Papinchak's fondest memories with his daughter and wife, Olga, who passed away a few years ago, is fishing in Canada. The family would take their boat out on a lake and frequently end up in a spot where only Patty could catch fish.
"They were pike fish, which are territorial and only allow you to catch one or two before they all scatter. After catching one, I would tell her we had to keep moving," he said. "She would say there were more and, sure enough, she caught more. Olga and I tried for an hour - nothing."
Near the end of Patty's life, she promised after she passed away, she would let her parents know she was okay. After her passing, the Papinchaks returned to the lake to "Patty's spot." They watched as the sky turned black with clouds. Then, Olga saw a rainbow.
"How it was there is impossible," he said, because the conditions weren't conducive. "The rainbow grew brighter and bigger. I never saw anything like it. It lasted several minutes. I said to Olga, 'You know who's making that rainbow? It's Patty letting us know she's in paradise.' Then, it was like someone turned the intensity down. The sky darkened, and we pulled out our rods and arrived at camp just before it began pouring."
Bro. Papinchak's beliefs stem from his parents who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. He grew up in a house with just four rooms and nine children. Despite the family's struggles, his parents had faith that by working together, they would survive. They were also committed to helping others regardless of their own situation.
While working in management at a General Motors plant, Bro. Papinchak was approached by a co-worker who asked if he was a Mason. When he answered no, the man explained the organization.
"He basically told me it was an organization that does good for mankind," said Bro. Papinchak, who joined the fraternity soon after their conversation and also became a member of the Scottish Rite. Wanting to contribute more to the fraternity, he has named the Masonic Charities in his will. Bro. Papinchak also became a member of the Franklin Legacy Society, which is open to anyone who has included a gift provision in any amount for one or more of the Masonic Charities in their estate plans. Members of the Franklin Legacy Society enjoy many benefits, such as invitations to special events, recognition on a special donor wall and in the annual report, and a lapel pin and book clock depicting Bro. Franklin at work at his printing press.
"As a group, [Masons] do good things for those who need it," he said. "If everyone, as a group, did something similar, the world would be a better place. We help one another, especially children. After losing Patty, it was a relief to have someone to rely on when I needed it. Even after I'm gone, I want to contribute."
For information on joining the Franklin Legacy Society, bequests or a charitable gift annuity, please complete and mail the form below, or call the Gift Planning Office nearest you.
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