Mad for…Adam

Life with Christ is a wonderful adventure. (Pope John Paul II)

The Smith family amazes me. They are a large, eclectic, talented and incredibly faith-filled group of humans. Adam is the husband of a compassionate, beautiful woman named Mollie and together they built a stunning family. The whole clan is pictured together, below!

Near the center of the photo, in the plaid shirt is the father of eight, a sunny guy named Adam. This is a man of many talents! I don’t know actually what he’s principally involved in these days, but he’s done work in research and development, and he’s an incredibly gifted artist. Also, I’m fairly certain he’s a shooting instructor, which strikes me as a unique skill set.

Adam is a friendly person. He’s congenial, amiable, funny and kind. He never fails to say hello if I spot him out and about at church or perhaps at Guerin Catholic. He’s very present and supportive as a father. His outgoing, adventurous nature as well as his creative skills have definitely been inherited by many of his children. More importantly than that is the fact that his focus seems to me to be about leading his family in faith. This is ultimately what leads me to write about Adam today.

The Smith clan is impressive. Despite their wide and varying interests, abilities and gifts, the thing that draws others to them is their joyfulness. Hopeful, faithful people are magnets for sure. When we spot the face of Jesus in someone, it draws us in. That’s a fact. No one gets it right all the time, but Adam and his family are high integrity, quality humans who love the Lord. It shows. It attracts. It impresses.

Thanks, Adam, for your broad smile and welcoming ways. I think you are an inspiring and impressive man who makes the world a happier, spicier, more adventurous place to inhabit. Thanks for shining your bright light in my direction! I’m grateful!!

Mad for…Charlie

Last night, I briefly gave the yoga pants a respite and donned a black dress then headed out to the Somerset CPAs Christmas dinner at Maggianos with my handsome guy. The evening was positively frigid outside, but the company was lovely. I ended up spending my evening sitting next to a very friendly guy named Charlie Naber.

Outgoing and jovial are the words I would use to describe my experience with Charlie last night. He’s the husband of a completely lovely woman named Karen and the husband and grandfather of several very blessed humans.

The good-hearted ribbing and banter going on between Charlie and Karen throughout the evening made me smile. You see, his very genuine and sweet wife was eager for Charlie to enjoy his present company and NOT “talk shop” at dinner. Charlie couldn’t help himself, however. It was entertaining to watch their interaction, because despite the disagreement, one could not miss their authentic affection for one another.

Charlie and Karen Naber and one of their donkeys…in a parade? They are dressed as pirates here. I’m not sure why but this makes me smile!!

Knowing he is a Catholic guy and a long-time parishioner at St. Maria Goretti parish in Westfield, I mentioned to Charlie that I was aware of his work with the Little Sisters of the Poor and their St. Augustine Home in Indianapolis. He smiled brightly and shared that the Little Sisters have taught him a lot over the years about trusting in Providence. Charlie is quite obviously a faith-filled guy. He sits on the board of the Trinity Free Clinic as well, a phenomenal place where many uninsured folks are treated each month. It’s located on the campus of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Carmel at their Merciful Help Center. He’s also got a great smile and positive energy, plus his storytelling is top notch. He’s a salt of the earth sort of man.

Charlie regaled us throughout the evening with everything from his very distinct preferences in PCs, the latest city council meeting he attended, his much adored children and grandchildren, the horses and donkeys on his 23 acre property in Boone County, and of course the aforementioned Little Sisters. I found out that some of my favorite, integrity filled friends, John and Tina Zimmerman, have known the Nabers clan for much longer than I have. It was fun to giggle at his college stories with the mutual friend he calls, “Beaner”. 

I’ll be honest, I left Charlie and was better off than before the encounter. Isn’t that what we should all strive to be for others? By the way he lives his life, it’s clear to me that Charlie Naber is a guy who is genuine, simple, and willing to be Jesus to the family and friends around him. It’s obvious to me that world is a much livelier and warmer place because of this guy, so today’s “Mad for” shout out is for Charlie! Merry Christmas to the entire Naber clan, and thanks for entertaining me last night with your sunny disposition!!

Mad for…Jesus

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:14)

Caravaggio’s “Nativity”

Merry Christmas, friends!! I am writing about Jesus today in my “Mad for” series because my son told me I should. Essentially, he said, “Well, you love Jesus a whole lot so I think you should talk about Him on Christmas.” Thanks for noticing, kid. Consider it done.

Bishop Robert Barron said this,
“Through the mystery of the Incarnation, God allows us to participate in the divine life, thereby elevating and sanctifying us.” I am a BIG fan of this holy man, and I couldn’t agree more with his sentiments, which are so articulately and accessibly spoken.

For a few minutes every day this year, I decided I would try in a very intentional way to be the face of Jesus to someone. I wanted to participate in that divine life the good Bishop is speaking about. Since today is all about the Lord, I thought I’d take a moment to explain and hopefully answer the question about why and how it is that I am doing this, in the hope that it spreads. The way I set it up, I gave myself 24 hours to say a kind word or two about just one person, before another 24 hour clock started. That is the way I wanted to travel for my 2019, being an intentionally grateful and affirming person. I just wanted to spread the love of Jesus a little. It seemed like a reasonable goal at the time, and I’m just a few days away now from the end of the line, so we’ll see if God’s plan is for me to finish? I’m not going to lie, I now am fairly invested and would like to finish. The thing is, life comes at us unexpectedly sometimes, so I’m not attached to that outcome. In fact, quite early in the year when I was in the hospital, I wasn’t sure it would last long at all. I was about six weeks into the project and my health situation had been challenging, now I was going to be in a hospital bed a couple days. Then I kind of giggled when I saw the date on my iphone– that day I thought I might give up was the birthday of one of the humans I most respect in all the world. I knew I’d write about him, even if from a hospital bed in drug induced, sketchy, sentence-like format from my cell phone. Do you know why? Because he was the man who helped me find Jesus at my darkest hour. I couldn’t quit on February 21. Nope. It was a sign from the Holy Spirit that I was meant to trust God and keep going forward.

I just think it’d be cool to say I completed the task. What I’ve learned along the way about human nature and also about love itself is pretty much a game changer for me. I’ll probably tell you about that after the year ends. That’s the way it is with Jesus, though. You see, for all my obvious flaws, my heart was in the right place and my aim was pure. I’ve simply been telling the stories about what I’ve experienced Jesus doing in my life through the amazing examples set by the folks around me. Telling it like I see it, the truth as I know it is my aim. Just last week, a friend who has been following along told me that when she reads my posts, she hears appealing vulnerability and joyful words about who Jesus is to us all. I said “Huh? Well good.” I’m so articulate sometimes, ha?

Here’s the truth. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.” (1 John 4:11)

Today is the day love became incarnate, people. It wows and astounds me. The God of the universe came down here and loved us in the most vulnerable, humble way imaginable. He was born in a stable and his parents were a carpenter and a teenage girl. He did this for us. It was pure love. Period. What do you say we do like Jesus and let our lives revolve around loving others? I propose we start immediately. Right now. Yes, I know it’s Christmas Day. Perfect right?! Let’s be the kindest, most welcoming version of ourselves today! That would be a grateful note on which to accept our Savior into our hearts this Christmas season.

We’re all constantly getting little love notes from the Lord in our lives. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, feel free to ask me to share about a few of mine sometime, and be prepared to hear my loud and excited voice— because I want you to recognize His voice in yours more than almost anything!! Some of us hear easier than others, but make no mistake. The God of Heaven and Earth is not just madly in love with us. He came down and humbled Himself in the form of the most vulnerable type of human being because He loves me, Shelly Thieme. And He loves YOU [insert your name here]. He knows your individual heart and He can hear even the prayer you didn’t share, but kept buried inside yourself. That critical voice, the one that says you aren’t enough? That’s NOT Him, people. Our God is compassionate and He is kind. Trusting Him is a great call, just saying.

None of us did anything to earn this life. Whatever love you have to give this year, give it lavishly and maybe even a little recklessly…just like it’s Christmas morning and you are playing the part of Santa Claus to a room full of toddlers!! Today is a joy filled day. I don’t always get it right, but really and truly I love Jesus. My heart aches a touch wishing I could somehow impart in a genuine way just how much I mean that, and what gratefulness for the grace of faith makes me desire. I want to be the woman you feel like you can call any old time without worrying about me being bugged, because you know I’ll be gracious and that I care. I’m hoping you’ll find I treat you like we’re going to spend all eternity together. If I don’t, please forgive me. Chances are solid I just need another hour of sleep or maybe a latte with too much Splenda, and I’ll be as good as new.

I’m hoping the Lord will see my effort and desire and that He’ll pour out His glorious grace on us both, while forgiving my giant mess ups– because we know I’m going to flub up. You might screw up too, but I really do hope that what remains is LOVE. Happy Birthday, Jesus! I love You, please help me love You more!

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.

Merry Christmas!

Mad for…Mary

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for your hope. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

When my son, Drew, was in high school, I remember him deciding to invite Mary Ganser to be his date to a dance. At the time, I wasn’t really aware that sweet Mary was in his friend orbit, to be candid. Therefore, I quizzed him about why she was his “victim”, ha? His reply kind of warmed my heart. He said, “Well, she’s a cheerful person and Mary is too kind to turn me down.” At the end of the day, we all are just looking for the world to treat us charitably, am I right? Mary is a young woman who is both full of life and reliably considerate of others. She was an excellent choice!

Drew was right. Mary said yes. When her sunny mom, Stephanie, glanced up in my kitchen at my very tall son, looked him in the eye and gave him her pre-dance “rules and responsibilities” speech, I smiled and knew at once just how beloved this young lady is to her faith-filled family! She’s incredibly blessed.

Positive, affirming, and full up to her eyeballs with the love of the Lord….that is how I would describe Mary. Though I suspect she doesn’t see it as clearly as those around her do, hers is a life which provides a witness of hope, so present is the gift of grace within her. She’s a student at Belmont University in Nashville, and is a creatively gifted young woman. Mary is amazing with children, because her enthusiasm and playfulness matches theirs. When she was a student at Guerin Catholic, I always looked forward to her participation in any of the fine arts concerts or productions because her inclusion meant a certain joyfulness would be undeniably present.

Mary Ganser is a beautiful young lady with a soul to match, and today is her birthday! Please join me if you have a chance today and give her a birthday shout out. Glorious humans like Mary who take the time to be friendly and thoughtful make this crazy world SO MUCH BETTER! Thank you, Mary, for the lovely example you consistently provide to those around you. You are getting it right, young lady….and I hope that on your special day today you know in your heart what a beloved daughter of the most high God you truly are!! I miss your sweet smile and hope your day is terrific. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY!!

Mad for…Christine

Jeff, Christine, Jennifer, Jeffrey and George Utzinger

I have a lot of respect for genuine people. They might not be perfect, but at least they’re not pretending to be. (A. Gucciardi)

When their children and ours were little, we were neighbors. It was just impossible not to find the whole family likable, and even more improbable to not fall in love with their three absolutely adorable children— Jennifer, Jeffrey and George. This explains why it really was a crisis for the entire neighborhood when their young son went missing (briefly) many years back. Christine was frantic. The Carmel police department was called. All of us were searching the nooks and crannies of the area…until he was found…inside his toy box! It makes me laugh all these years later and honestly I never even asked Christine if that is actually where he was or just the very funny story I heard secondhand.

For me, this little tale illustrates what I have always loved about the Utzinger family, and especially Christine. She’s just so real, so utterly relatable. For me, nothing beats an unpretentious person. It’s often what connects me with others. I mean, one would have to be heartless to refuse to help a mom whose toddler has wandered off, but that’s not the point here. The fact is, Christine is beloved by all who know her because she is joyful, sunny and completely genuine!

We did some grade school carpooling together for a time, and she was the most generous and thoughtful partner in crime. Christine goes out of her way for others everyday. It’s just who she is. Her laughter, sense of fun, terrific smile and compassionate heart make the world just a much warmer place to inhabit! Also, (sidebar) the woman can bake and the results are delicious works of art. Seriously, the woman is gifted.

Christine Utzinger is as bright and articulate as she is beautiful— and she really is stunning. She is truly a charming and faith-filled woman of God! When I had a scary health diagnosis early in the year, her kindness reaching out was more meaningful than she knows.

So, this week (if my calendar is accurate) Christine celebrates her birthday. Tomorrow (12/18) is her day, I believe! I wanted to take a moment and give her a little shout out to let her know that I am overdue to let her know that she is a giant scoop of awesome sauce! Love you Christine! Happy Birthday!!! I miss you, my friend. ❤️

Mad for…Rich

When all the dust is settled and all the crowds are gone, the things that matter are faith, family and friends. (Barbara Bush)

I think I’ve mentioned before in this little blog that my husband, Tom Thieme, is the son of parents who were both twins. His mom, Jane, was an identical twin. She passed away a few years ago, but her twin sister, Lynn, survives. Meanwhile, his Dad, Tom, just celebrated his 80th birthday with his twin sister, Josephine. Today, I want to tell you a little about Josephine’s son, Rich.

Rich is the only son of Josephine and the late Dick Deible. His sister is a terrific human named Christine. He’s also the uncle to three great young people named Molly, Grace, and Sean Wehner. Rich is a Purdue engineer who I think earned his master’s degree at the University of South Carolina? If I have that wrong, Rich, I apologize. Anyway, he’s a Gamecock fan and a Boilermaker fan….and I can live with that combination!

I’m told as a child that Rich was kind of finicky. His cousins mention that when they talk about him as a little guy. I didn’t know him then, and all I can tell you is that he drinks beer like he’s a Thieme…and the adjective I would choose there certainly isn’t “finicky”, ha? He strikes me now as amiable, gentle, and witty.

Here’s what I really admire about Rich. He’s a single guy and his home is in South Carolina. The distance that he lives from the bulk of his family is significant. Rich does not seem to let that hinder him from doing an exceptional job fostering his family relationships. Whenever there’s a family event of significance, Rich travels and is present. It would be extremely easy to excuse oneself from weddings, funerals, big birthday parties, etc in his situation. That’s not who he is though.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw him at the big 80th birthday bash that was held for his mom and his Uncle Tom (my father-in-law) at the Thieme and Wagner Brewing Company in downtown Lafayette, Indiana. That’s a long haul from Aiken, South Carolina. What struck me about his smile and his presence wasn’t the extraordinary lengths he went to getting himself there, it was the fact that I assumed he would be present. That’s Rich. He’s a guy whose life has taken him in a different direction than the rest of his family, but his roots are important to him and so he remains attached. He’s got a great laugh and a genuine smile that I always enjoy. Rich Deible is in my eyes a friendly, compassionate man of integrity. This world can sure use as many of those guys as we can get!

So, today, I just wanted to give Rich a little shout out and let him know that by his witness he has helped remind me that being part of a family means you are part of something worth preserving, something kind of wonderful. I love the way he loves his family, and although I am merely an in-law cousin, I strongly suspect his mom, sister, nieces, nephew, aunts, uncles and cousins feel the very same way! I pray his roots will remain interminably tangled with all those he loves. Merry Christmas to you, Rich! I hope your holiday season is full of smiles and the new year brings you lots of joy!

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. (Jane Howard)

Mad for…Erin

Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise.

The quote above has been attributed to numerous folks, including saints as well an American protestant pastor named Andy Stanley. Honestly, I don’t know whose words they truly are, but they do not belong to me. That said, I have long loved this sentiment and have shared it MANY times, especially to fellow moms who sometimes struggle to feel like they are contributing to the world in a meaningful way and wonder if they are enough. Ladies. Rest assured, you are much more than enough! Taken completely on it’s own, the gift of love and unconditional support you provide to your children every day is a stunning demonstration to all the world about what it means to love like Jesus!

When I happened upon my favorite quote on the Facebook page of a beautiful woman named Erin Hines today, I knew that was the Holy Spirit calling me to give this blond sassafras a shout out! I met Erin a few years back at SLDM. She’s considerably younger than I am, but we have about 100 friends in common, so I’ve noticed her for a while. Let me be clear here. It’s impossible to miss Erin. She’s got a BIG personality. She’s extroverted and demonstrative but also warm and approachable. Erin is gregarious and friendly, and extremely genuine. I love her unrestrained enthusiasm for life and I feel that it makes the entire area she inhabits feel genial and welcoming. However, I am also an extrovert…so she’s my favorite flavor!

I don’t know Erin extremely well, but I do know she’s a speech pathologist who lives in Carmel. Her husband is a super handsome guy and I don’t even know his name. The two gorgeous kids will be married with their own children and I will always and forever think of them as “Jojo and Tater the Tot” because that is what she called them every time I was around her at St. Louis de Montfort. She loves those two children with a fierceness and passion that I really do find inspiring to witness. That’s why it felt fitting to me today when I saw one of my all-time favorite quotes posted on her page. I thought, yep, that’s exactly right!! Erin’s devotion to the Lord is made clear by the way she loves others…starting with the ones who live under her own roof. THAT, my dear friends, is a glorious thing to behold!!

Merry Christmas you beautiful, character-filled woman! I am grateful to you, Erin, for your shiny smile, positive vibe, and the lovely heart you’ve always got on display! The world is most definitely a better place because you are in it!!

Mad for…Rich

A good coach will make his players see what they can be rather than what they are. (Ara Parseghian)

Late last night, we had a family room full of sports lovers and we were watching the IU men’s basketball team pick up an overtime win against Nebraska. The group gathered here included my three sons, my husband, and some close friends we adore. The conversation turned to youth sports experiences– and it led us to a nostalgic chat about a fantastic coach named Rich Andriole.

When our oldest son Nick was in the second grade, so too was a another sweet boy named Nick Andriole. We had invited the sports-loving boys from St. Louis de Montfort to play on a hoops team over at the Fieldhouse in Fishers. We ended up with too many for just one team so we needed to recruit another Dad to coach up the little guys when we determined we had enough Cardinals for two squads. I can’t remember who it was that told me Nick Andriole’s Dad (who I hadn’t yet met in person) was a high school coach, but that was enough to get my attention, and I quickly snagged him for the job. We became great friends with Rich and his wife, Janet and our children grew up alongside each other. Still today, their three kids, Nick, Jake, and Allison are some of my favorite humans too!

That said, I still giggle thinking back to that Fieldhouse experience. You see, when one looks back now with the full understanding of what an UBER competitive human Rich Andriole is, it’s simply impossible to forget 8-year old Evan Brueggemann on the end of the bench eating his king sized candy bar and drinking his Gatorade mid-game with Coach Andriole at the helm, ha?!

Passionate, articulate and compeititve, Rich is the sort of coach who sees the potential in kids and inspires them to work hard to live up to it. He’s retired now from coaching high school baseball where he had well over 500 wins and multiple state championships. He’s got former players who have succeeded at the highest levels of college and also major league baseball, but more importantly, SO MANY young men he coached grew up to be husbands, fathers and men of integrity, guided in part by he lessons he taught them.

Last night, my husband and two oldest sons along with our family room full of folks were talking about their experiences in a gym and on baseball field with Coach Andriole. They were sharing with the two young guys in the room about how much he made them want to work hard, and how meaningful it was to play ball for him because the whole team achieved above and beyond what they expected in every season where he was their leader. They talked about how my friend Rich helped them see someone else’s strength as a complement to their weakness and an asset to the team.

Rich is gifted at leadership development. He’s a phenomenal speaker and articulate story-teller who knows how to inspire young people. In his “new-ish” role in the corporate world, I have no doubt at all that his unique talents and skill set are an incredible asset. After all, great athletes and young professionals have something vital in common– they can all use a trusted advisor to help them reach their goals.

Many times over the years when life got a little rocky for me or for someone I love, I’d get an encouraging text from Rich letting me know he was praying. We all need every prayer warrior we can get on our team in life, am I right? The guy knows what victory is all about, and today I wanted to give him a shout out and let him know that in this next chapter of his life, I wish him nothing but the absolute best. This moment is yours, my friend. Please know I pray for you often and I love you, my friend. Merry Christmas!!

“Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” (Bill Bowerman)

Mad for…Fred

It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start. -St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta

For quite a while, I’ve been thinking, “Oh, I want to write a blog post about Fred.” The timing was never right or I discovered when I was about to begin that it was someone’s birthday or something else of this ilk. Then, I read this beautiful quote by Mother Teresa, who is a personal favorite. It made me think of Fred, because he’s the kind of man who makes every place he is just warmer, kinder, and full of smiles by his presence. He’s a superb example of the concept being proposed by one of the most amazing saints that exists in our church.

Fred is the husband of a lovely woman named Jamie and the uber supportive dad to two great kids named Maci and Gray. He’s crazy about them all, which to me is just a glorious thing to behold. Nothing beats a man who truly cherishes his wife and children. He’s sunny, joyful, friendly and articulate, and he’s pictured above with Pope Francis, ha?!. He’s a faith-filled and extremely likeable person who also happens to be my neighbor. Fred’s a parishioner at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and a steady upstanding man of God. We need those strong men of faith now more than ever, so his example is inspiring!

Fred McClaine is just a special person and I wanted to give him a shout out today to point out his awesomeness in case no one else has told him today that he is outstanding! He’s a handsome family man with a beautiful soul. Compassionate and in love with the Lord, Fred is a funny, big-hearted man of character. Articulate, positive and affirming. That’s how I see him. He’s a person who really does leave others feeling more joyful, a blessing to those of us in his path, and I am LONG overdue to say so. Here’s to you, Fred! Merry Christmas to the McClaines!!

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” St. (Mother) Teresa

Mad for…Fr. Hurley

The priest is not a priest for himself- he is for you. After God, the priest is everything. (St. John Vianney)

Fr. Kevin Hurley, OLMC

Have you ever been to mass and you just weren’t “feeling it” that particular day? Then, on top of that, some priest you don’t really know, or about whom you have a slightly bad attitude is celebrating it? Well, that happened to me some time back. I like to think I’ve evolved a bit, spiritually speaking, since then. I’ll own my bad behavior here, though, for the sake of affirming a good man.

Allow me to explain. You see, this perfectly nice man who really is a miracle of grace, began his homily that fateful day when I first encountered him by telling the story of some famous movie he loved…and I am apparently the last one on earth not to have seen it. He talks rather rapidly as a general rule, and my head was hurting, so the truth is that I was the problem. However, a VERY UNFAIR CHARACTERIZATION sort of formed itself in my brain during that initial encounter and I allowed it to become a cemented bad attitude– for a short period of time. Stay with me, though, because if you’ve been reading this blog post all year, you know my silly stories always have a happy ending.

Well it happens that one of my most favorite saints is St. Padre Pio. I found myself at mass not long after “crabby Shelly Sunday” on the feast of Padre Pio and wouldn’t you know it, there again was Fr. Hurley. I am ashamed to admit that I was so bugged (I mean it was the feast of Padre Pio) that I even rolled my eyes!! Guess what happened, though? God is so good and so patient with us. You see that day, Fr. Hurley began to speak and it was as if the room went silent. He spoke the very famous quote that I LOVE from this incredibly amazing mystic and stigmatist, If we only knew how God regards this sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single mass.

Oh, hey there, Jesus. It’s just your goofy daughter Shelly again, and yes, I’m a complete idiot.” That’s what I thought in my head, and I actually began to giggle. It wasn’t an appropriate reaction to the quote or the point being made by Fr. Hurley about the reverence with which we should participate in the holy sacrifice of the mass, of course, so my son elbowed me and gave me the same death stare that I used to give him when he was a little guy misbehaving at mass. Now, I was gotten even more and was having trouble containing the laughter. You see, it was at this point that I realized God quieted the place so that I would notice Him through this particular man of God– and see the beautiful work of salvation he is endeavoring to do each day. Sheesh. He’s saving souls and I’m rolling my eyes. Classy, right?

Fr. Hurley was the face of Jesus that day for me, and so powerful was the message he delivered in that homily as well as the loving correction Jesus provided me that I couldn’t miss it. I have since learned, of course, that Fr. Kevin Hurley is a lovely human with a good sense of humor who actually hails from Carmel. He’s a kind, faith-filled guy who has acted as a light in the darkness for MANY and who works hard every day to provide for the thousands of souls in his care. He’s the real deal.

Today, on the feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, Fr. Hurley celebrated the 8am mass. I knew it would be him saying the mass when I knelt to pray, because I have started to be able to identify the celebrant by the chalice placed on the credence table. I prayed for him before mass and asked Mary to be a mother to Fr. Hurley today in just the way he needs. Because I really do love Our Blessed Mother, I found it heartening to hear him talk this morning about staying close to her and following her example of grace and holiness. She’s the surest route to Jesus was the essence of what he said to those gathered this morning. The gospel message he shared really did touch my heart, and it made me laugh thinking back at my grumpiness. Also, it left me feeling grateful for Fr. Hurley. He’s a genuine man with a good heart who has many days helped me focus a little better on my relationship with Christ. THANK YOU, Fr. Hurley for all you do each day for so many folks at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I, for one, am grateful for you…and I am long overdue to say so!

“If you ever feel distressed during your day, call upon Our Lady. Just say this simple prayer, ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit; this prayer has never failed me.” -St. (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta