Mad for…Faith

Joy, with peace, is the sister of charity. Serve the Lord with laughter. (St. Padre Pio)

Today’s beautiful birthday girl is Faith Ryder! Faith is a freshman at Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville, Indiana. She’s the much loved daughter of Tom and Meg Ryder, and also she’s a joyful and fantastic young woman.

Since she was a very small girl attending St. Louis de Montfort grade school, Faith was unceasingly filled with the joy of the Lord. She always had a smile to share, and each time I came into contact with her, she greeted me with enthusiasm. Let’s be honest, there is very little that beats a sunny young lady who calls out, “Hi, Mrs. Thieme! I hope you are having the best day!”

Faith is bright and kind. She apparently is also quite a talented equestrian. I know so little about horses that I’m not even sure I’ve said that right…but I have seen this gal and her horses and just so many ribbons over the years. That’s kind of unique, and certainly a very cool, special talent. However, it’s not the reason I chose to honor her today!

What makes Faith stand out is that she seems to be aware, even at the tender age of 15, that she is the beloved child of the King! I’ve listened as she cantored at all-school mass, so filled with the love of Christ. Those same sparkle-filled eyes are the ones that never failed to say hello to a parent or a younger child in her path as I watched from a distance over the years. We adults who work in lunchrooms, at retreats, on the playground, or helping in the classroom….well…we get to know the children in the school. What makes Faith breathtakingly beautiful to me is the way she treats those around her– including carpool moms like yours truly. None of us gets it right 100% of the time, but this young lady has been caught red-handed in many acts of faithfulness and love towards others by this particular (relative stranger) over the years. We could all use a little scoop of that brand of kindness, Faith! I wish I’d said something sooner.

Faith, thank you for the simple yet jaw-droppingly gorgeous example of how we should treat others– with our smile on full display and our arms extended in love! For all the times you greeted me with your warm smile and quick hello over the years, I am grateful! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET GIRL! I hope your day has been half as spectacular as you!

Mad for…Fr. Pat

May God grant you always…a sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, a sheltering angel so nothing can harm you, laughter to cheer you, faithful friends near you, and wherever you pray, Heaven to hear you. –An Irish Blessing

Day 76 of 365.

It seems only appropriate to recognize today, on the feast of St. Patrick, a Roman Catholic priest by the same name. Today is the feast of his namesake, so I’ve chosen a man who I have known since my oldest son was in the 2nd grade. That same kid is now a college junior! Nick was in the very first group of grade school children at St. Louis de Montfort to have their first reconciliation and receive their first communion from Fr. Pat Click. In the years that followed, Fr. Pat was present for two more first communions as well as the confirmation mass of my oldest son. We’re thankful to him for conferring on all of us the sacraments over many years.

Fr. Pat spent some time before he moved to Fishers as the Pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church on the Purdue University campus. I’m fairly certain it was this assignment that gave him such great affinity for my beloved Boilermakers. We’ve traded some excitement about some fun Purdue football and basketball victories over the years!

The special quality evident in Fr. Pat that I have noticed over the decades is his unique ability to provide comfort to those who are mourning. Many, many families have been the recipient of his pastoral giftedness in this area over the years, including my own. His presence and his words were powerfully helpful when my mother-in-law, Jane Thieme, passed away. I was grateful at that challenging time, and my gratitude remains. I know that there are so many others who have had a similar compassion-filled experience at what is a truly challenging time in life– as we mourn.

Thank you, Fr. Pat, for the gift of your thoughtful service to so many families over the years. We hope you are having a FANTASTIC St. Patrick’s Day and we wish you many blessings now and always!