Friday, June 27, 2008

Vaya con Dios!

“Go with God!”

This weekend, these words are with two special people who have supported and encouraged young adults in the West Essex community: Fr. John Gabriel and Fr. Anthony Randazzo.

Fr. John will be leaving as Pastor of St. Thomas More with his assignment as Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese of Newark and of Emmaus House – a residence for those discerning priestly vocations. Fr. John’s welcoming and hospitable nature has imbued his time at STM. Fr. John just returned from a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and will say his last Mass at STM at 10 AM on Sunday morning. A reception in O'Connor Hall will follow after Mass.

May you have the grace of encouragement

To awaken the gift in the other's heart,

Building in them the confidence

To follow the call of the gift.*

This weekend, Fr. Anthony will receive friends and good wishes at Notre Dame as he prepares to leave for a sabbatical. We hope that Fr. Anthony will return at Christmas refreshed by his travel, study and prayer to continue ministering in the same way he promises to return his phone messages (and in the way we have come to rely): “with compassion.” Following all Masses this weekend, you can catch up with Fr. Anthony—or attend the Open House from 1-4 PM. Fr. Anthony will preside at the 10:30 AM and Noon Masses.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed.

And live your time away to its fullest;

Return home more enriched and free

To balance the gift of days which call you.*


*Both these blessings can be found in “To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings” by John O’Donohue.

Friday, June 20, 2008

6/20: Happy Summer! Happy Hour!

Summer arrives at 7:59PM tonight.
Welcome summer with some fun & a chance to meet new friends!
JustJakes 30 Park Street Montclair starting@ 7PM.
Live Music. Drink Specials.
"Pay as you go."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Father's Day

Tim Russert’s death hit me hard.

My husband Frank can tell you that one of my cherished Sunday morning rites includes Russert’s lively and thought-provoking “Meet the Press.” I particularly loved that Russert let us glimpse his own life and values – his love of family, sports and his faith. Many observe that his Jesuit education and legal training helped shape his tough but fair “no whining” interview style.

A few years ago, I gave my dad Sam a copy of Russert’s best-selling book, “Wisdom of Our Fathers” as a Father’s Day gift. This book grew from an earlier popular book “Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons from Life.”

The irony of Russert’s passing at the beginning of Father’s Day weekend is not lost. With his own reverence and passion for fatherhood, Russert has raised this special day to an even higher level. On today’s “Meet the Press,” Russert’s executive producer said that Tim would call Big Russ after every show to see how the show went. His father's opinion was the true test of the broadcast. My heart goes out to Big Russ who probably never thought his son would pre-decease him.

My own love of books and reading comes from my father. My dad Sam grew up during the Depression and he served in the US Army during WW2. In his youngest days, he would save his money, box tops and “proofs of purchase” so he could build a library. Books were a precious commodity in those days. My dad is also a (very) civil engineer, a terrific grill master and a soft touch for babies and puppies. A patient teacher, he's been a popular guest at his grandchildren's schools: reading aloud and sharing his love of stamp collecting. Dad keeps a daily diary and is the “go to guy” when we can’t remember something! Every time the Yankees are in trouble, we wonder why George is not calling my father for advice – or with a job offer. As a Brooklyn native, he chose the Yankees over the Dodgers as his team a long time ago!

This year, I am giving my dad Bobby Murcer’s book, “Yankee for Life: My 40-Year Journey in Pinstripes.” I learned the game of baseball watching and listening to Yankees’ games with my dad. At my peak of baseball fascination, I kept a scrapbook of Mickey Mantle’s last home runs and chronicled the early career of another native Oklahoman—Number 1, Yankees’ centerfielder Bobby Murcer. I still have my Bobby Murcer baseball bat –a cherished momento from a “Bat Day” trip to Yankee Stadium with my dad and brother. Bobby Murcer is more familiar to many now as a Yankee broadcaster. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This memoir is a testament to families and to the idea of family expressed in close knit communities and among colleagues.

I always inscribe the books I give as gifts. I haven’t inscribed this one yet – but I hope to find words to connect me, my dad, our love of reading and baseball.

This weekend, Fr. Ed writes of the importance of mentors in the Notre Dame bulletin. What man in your life is helping you write your memoir?

Happy Father's Day!