New Message Editor Offers An Introduction Of Himself
As you read this, my first week in the Diocese of Evansville will be wrapping up. That week remains a short way off as I write; but I can’t wait for it to start.
God blesses me daily – often with riches of mind, body and spirit. Other times, however, His blessings bring trials that enable me to see His plan in motion … His path for me.
That path started in the coal fields of southwestern Pennsylvania, on the northern tip of a region first called Appalachia in the 1960s. Dad was a coal miner. Mom stayed at home – until black lung and lung cancer stole Dad from us way too soon. I was 14, and an only child. Mom died in 2003, after a long fight against the debilitating effects of a series of strokes.
I suppose if you were to read a list of the things I’ve done in my life, sinful acts would appear as regular bookmarks. To this second, the sin I regret the most involved a phone call and a fleeting thought.
That ringing phone jolted me from sleep in the middle of a Sunday-morning sunrise. I worked at a daily newspaper at the time, and had stayed late Saturday night getting the Sunday edition to press.
Calls that early - especially on Sundays – meant only one thing. Something happened to Mom, and the personal-care-home staff was calling to get me involved.
Struggling out of bed to cover the few short steps to the phone, I vented out loud to an otherwise-empty home. “Why can’t SOMEBODY ELSE take one of these calls … just ONE TIME?!”
I was right about the nature of the call. I was so very wrong to respond that way. I still regret it, even though I know God and Mom forgave me the moment I asked.
As Pope Francis said so eloquently during the Easter season (and I probably paraphrase a bit), “God never tires of forgiving us. It is we who get tired of asking His forgiveness.” I love Pope Francis, by the way – as I do Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Blessed John Paul II and the four other Holy Fathers who’ve led our Church in my lifetime.
Here are some other notes by way of introduction:
Mom was born on May 13, 1918 – the first anniversary of Our Lady’s first appearance to the children in Fatima. I was born on April 28 – the Feast Day of St. Louis de Montfort. As soon as I connected those dots, I completed the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. Seemed like a really good idea.
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen visited my hometown several times before and after my birth for an Eastern-rite pilgrimage to Mary held there annually on Labor Day weekend. Mom was carrying me when he became the first Roman-rite priest to chant the Eastern-rite Mass in English, during one of his visits to that pilgrimage.
I have personal devotions to Mary and the Rosary; to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy; to Sts. Gabriel, Michael and Raphael; to my Guardian Angel; to St. Gertrude’s prayer for the souls in Purgatory; and to St. Kateri, who is patroness of our natural environment. I carry a St. Kateri prayer card in my wallet.
The outdoors – hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc., are decades-old passions. Dad died before he and I could share much of that.
My amateur (ham) radio license and my telescopes certify my status as a geek.
My daughter, Jennifer, is God’s greatest blessing to me.
Baseball thrills me. Bass guitar thrills me. Photography thrills me.
Nothing, however, thrills me more than the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic Adoration.
My grin – yes it’s a grin these days, not just a smile – reveals my joy at coming to Evansville as director of Communications and editor of the Message.
I hope to meet you soon. My wish for you – Numbers 6: 24-26:
“The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!”