Six years ago, while I was doing a holy hour in the adoration chapel, a young local businessman that I knew stopped by the chapel to say a prayer. When he saw me, he brought up an incident involving the pastor in his parish. He said that the incident upset him so much that he was going to circulate a complaint petition around to his fellow parishioners to sign, and then send the signed petition to the Bishop of Peoria. After I asked him some questions about the incident, I told him, “You’re not going to circulate a petition against the priest!”
About 10 years ago, I saw a young priest I knew at an out-of-town graduation party. I asked him how everything was going and he answered, “Terrible!” When I asked why, he said, “The people in my parish hate me.” I started laughing. I thought he was kidding. He was a good and holy priest, had a good sense of humor, and liked to joke around.
During the summer of 2010, I met with Brenda, a sales representative for a large company, to talk about leasing some office equipment. During our conversation, I told her I had 3 daughters who were working for my law firm. She asked me if I had any other children. I told her that my wife and I have 7 children – 1 boy and 6 girls. She responded by telling me that she had a son who was 10-years-old and a daughter who was 6-years-old. She went on to say that she would love to have more children, but her husband “would never allow it.”
It happened on a Friday evening in April of 1977, when I was 19-years-old. I was home from college for the weekend and after dinner, my mom brought out a cake she had baked for my youngest brother, Tony. There were 2 candles on the cake and it was time to sing Happy Birthday to the baby of the family. As usual, the candles were lit and the lights were turned off. Tony sat in mom’s lap while we sang to him. After Tony blew out the candles, someone turned on the lights to the dining room. It was then that we noticed mom was wiping away tears from her eyes.
Last Monday I received a telephone call from a retired nun who reads my articles every week. I’ve known this particular nun for over 20 years. Even though she’s “retired,” she works harder than most people who are half her age. She’s a very holy and humble woman who cares greatly about the Catholic Church and the current state of humanity.
When I graduated from a Catholic grade school in 1971, I was determined to never look back. I got off to a bad start in first grade and every year after that got worse. I was more than ready to move on. I looked forward to starting high school with a blank slate and an entire new group of teachers who had never heard of me.