People are made for happiness. Rightly, then, you thirst for happiness. Christ has the answer to this desire of yours. But he asks you to trust him. –St. (Pope) John Paul II
With Father’s Day on the horizon this week, you may have noticed, if you’re following along, that I am sharing a little with all of you about some of the best men (and dads)around. This morning, I spotted one such guy with his arm around his girl, sort of like in the photo above. This time, though, the winsome and thoughtful husband, Steve Mattei, was consoling his wife, Julia, at the funeral of her mother, Pat Behan. It was beautiful.
The chapel at St. Augustine’s on 86th St. in Indy was full to the brim with family, friends, and quite a few of the “Little Sisters” I have made mention of in this blog more than once. Julia Mattei’s mom, Pat, was a resident at St. A’s under their care for something like 16 years after she had a stroke in her late 60s until she passed away at age 82 last week. It was heartening to see such a big crowd there to support the entire Behan family, as they are a faith-filled and terrific group of humans.
While I was mulling around before the funeral mass, I spoke to 3 of Steve’s 4 children. After mass, the fourth, Joey, came and gave me a beautiful hug. All of those young people were articulate, kind, and lovely. That doesn’t happen magically, folks. It takes amazing parenting, and Steve and Julia are definitely those people. Michael, Jack, Megan and Joey are a reflection of the character and integrity filled parents they were blessed to have as role models. Since I’ve already told you a little about Julia, I want to take a moment to thank Steve for the fine example he provides to so many of us in his path. Faith-filled, quick-witted and charming, Steve is the epitome of thoughtfulness and grace. When I see Steve Mattei, he’s always quick to smile and share a little happiness. It’s such a wonderful gift!
Steve was my neighbor for many years. I watched him parent little ones, then much bigger young adults, and I heard a lot of stories about his growing up years in Louisville. He hasn’t managed to shake the totally delightful accent, despite many years living in central Indiana. In addition to be a doting LAX Dad, he also spent a lot of time being involved in all sorts of youth sports with his brood– including football, basketball and volleyball. He’s an expert speedboat driver, and he knows how to ice down a cooler full of beverages like an expert. He’s likable for many reasons, not the least of which is his ability to mix up one of the best margaritas on the planet.
What makes Steve especially appealing to me is the down to earth, authentic way he lives his life. He’s not flashy, but he’s got an impressive work ethic and he’s very funny, but also is ever present for his family. By watching and emulating him, his children have had the opportunity to know something extremely important. As friendships and jobs come and go, as family members move near or far, love and the Lord are not transitory. What a beautiful gift to give to one’s children– to know without question that they are treasured by their family and loved by the Lord– no matter where they roam!
Steve, I’m proud to call you friend. You’re an amazing Dad and terrific husband. I would like to take this moment to wish you (in advance) a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! You are a gem, a treasure…and the face of Christ to many!