Mad for…Clay

With my own voice I will call out to the Lord, and he will answer me from his holy mountain. (Psalm 3:5)

Day 74 of 365.

The handsome college freshman in the center of this trio of great guys is Clay Hepp. Clay is a 2018 graduate of Guerin Catholic High School and he now attends the University of Dayton. Having him back in my house this week has been a great gift as he always leaves me, Tom (and my sons) feeling joyful. This is a sharp, gracious, and sunny young man. He’s witty and he’s kind.

I was going to wait until later in the year to write about Clay, as his birthday is in the fall, but right now is when this young man needs all of our prayers, so I’ve decided there is no time like the present to give a shout out to this terrific kid! When we put God first, all other things ten to fall into their proper place in our lives, and it seems to me, Clay is working very hard to do just that. You see, currently, Clay is going through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) process at UD. He’s a Candidate, converting to the Catholic faith with his older brother, Cole, as his sponsor.

So today, I chose a little bit of the third Psalm as I started to write a little about this faith-filled young man because I hope he will always remember that the Lord is available, and when we call He answers. It’s not always the answer we expect or the one we hoped for but He’s trustworthy and He can be counted on– for now and forever. God always wills what is best for us because He is love itself. Join me in prayer for Clay as he rounds third base and heads towards home on the RCIA journey, that as he embarks on his new adventure in faith this Easter, the Lord will draw him ever closer, and that he will always know God loves him no matter what!

This young man is already an incredibly loving and attentive son and brother as well as a caring and thoughtful friend. He’s gifted, honest, and articulate. He sparkles. This is a young man who is absolutely a blessing to all who know him. However, I predict an even brighter version of Clay is about to shine forth…and I am so happy for him! I cannot wait to wish him a Happy Easter as the sacraments and all their grace are opened to him.

Clay, thank you for always being a good friend to Drew and a good example to Zach of what an integrity-filled friend looks like. Your big, silly smile and fantastic laugh have always been a great joy to the entire Thieme clan. We love you, Clay Hepp!!

Mad for…Gachia

Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. (Hebrews 13:2)

Day 73 of 365.

Do you see the joyful mother and wife on the left here in the photo above? That’s Gachia Hoefer. She’s one of the most genuinely friendly and welcoming souls I have ever come across. For this reason, I think the little bit of scripture above is a perfect choice as I attempt to honor her today with some positive words. I’m quite sure that when and if an angel crosses her path unknowingly, they will have been treated as hospitably as humanly possible. It seems to just be who she is and what she does.

Long before I began to attend mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, I would make fairly regular visits to the parish office. I was uneasy, unsure, and completely self-conscious about my presence there. Gachia was the face that greeted me on nearly every visit I made. After a while, she began to recognize my face, and she was very consistent. She smiled, she welcomed, and she put me at ease. I suspect it was the exact thing she did with countless others who came in lost, lonely, scared or searching.

Gachia’s a face I recognize and a name I know, but we are not really acquainted at all. I have her on my mind today because I happen to know she’s on a long car ride from Colorado back to Indiana at this moment. I learned about them being stuck out west during the Colorado blizzard this week and how they have had to bob and weave from their original plans, driving back in less than ideal conditions. I’ve been praying for their safe travels.

With the Hoefers on my heart today, I was reminded of a time that my appointment at the office at OLMC was delayed. Pastor, Fr. Richard Doerr, was to meet with me, but he was running behind. I wondered if I should go and come back another day, but Gachia waved off the idea and invited me to pray with the office staff while I waited. She drew me in. It was just one tiny example of what she spent many years doing…introducing random strangers to the love of God with her kindness and her smile.

Gachia, the Lord loves your welcoming ways, and so do I. I so wish that I had stopped in to say so in person, or even written a note of gratitude when you retired from your post as parish secretary. You are an amazing, lovely and faith-filled woman and I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to get to know you just a little. The witness you provided me means that even now when I see you at a distance at mass, just spotting you in a crowd is a wonderful reminder to me about how I’d like to treat others with the same joy and care! THANK YOU for your service to the parish and for your kindness to me over several years. I think you are a giant scoop of awesome sauce!