It was 15 years ago today that God saw fit to bring my precious son Joey into the world. So this quick takes is totally devoted to him!
1. Last week in the quick-takes I mentioned how wonderful he looks with his new haircut. I'm still enjoying his shorn locks even though he styles them into what he calls a "Joehawk"-very pointy on top.
2. Although Joe prefers to call himself the "favorite son," the poor boy often bears the label of "the rebellious son," often successfully fighting tooth and nail to get his way and bend the rules, so Paul and I always tell him that he will make a good lawyer. But in my heart I pray that if he does go into law he will serve the Church and choose canon law.
3. Joe is also the son who complains the most about going to church and having to suffer the torment of being raised by an overly religious mother (aka "Jesus freak") So I am extremely joyful that he has asked me to wake him at 6:00 AM every day this summer so that he can join me at daily Mass followed by a quick trip to the YMCA for a workout. I was thinking of quitting the YMCA membership so as to put that money towards the Catholic school tuition, but now I see that it is money well spent if it brings my teen to daily Mass during his summer vacation!
4. What does it take to get Joe interested in his faith? Couple it with sports! Last spring Deacon Ryan Preuss and seminarian Kurt Krauss put together an awesome weekend camp called "The Remnant" which combined faith and basketball. Joe attended, a bit reluctantly, it's true, but it was here that he learned about St. Sebastian, the patron saint for athletes. (He is patron saint of athletes because of his physical endurance and his energetic way of spreading and defending the Faith.~Catholic Online) On the first day that Joe returned from camp he insisted that I take him to our local Catholic goods store to purchase a St. Sebastian medal which he had blessed and has been wearing every day ever since. He also inspired my son Jack to ask for and wear a St. Sebastian medal as well.
5. Joe is extremely creative. He told me that one way he can become more interested in the life of the Church is by looking at it as a sports team. Our associate pastor, Fr. Dennis, had previously been a pastor of a parish before coming to St. Matthias four years ago. This weekend will be his last with us as he he has been re-assigned as pastor of another parish. Joe says that Fr. Dennis reminds him of football star LaDainian Tomlinson from the Chargers who had a lead position as running back (the star of the team according to Joe) but was put into a lesser position behind the quarterback (which position Joe compares to Fr. Dave-the pastor) and then went to the Jets and became a star player once again. So in Joe's eyes Fr. Dennis is now a star player! He also looks at the seminarians as rookies in training camp under the coaching abilities of Fr. Don, the rector, or head coach. Whatever keeps him interested in the faith is a good thing, right?
6. Joe has always been a good role model and tutor for his two younger siblings. He spends a great deal of time helping them study, reading to them and encouraging them to be their best. Again, he draws on his creativity to keep them engaged, for example, a few years ago at daily Mass when the three of them were all still attending St. Matthias School, he came up with a numbers game using the song number for the communion song. If Sister Doris would announce that the song is number 804, Joe would add the 8 plus the 4 and say that the song was for Jack because he is twelve years old. The game continues even today as Jack and Mary still play using addition, subtraction, multiplication or division to determine which family member is honored by the song number of the day.
7. I've posted this several times before, but it still makes me smile each time I re-read it. It'll make you smile, too. Please pay a visit to this link and enjoy Joe's awesomely creative story- Mr. Blart, written for an eighth grade school assignment.
Happy 15th Birthday Joey! I love you! You'll always be one of my favorite sons!
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