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Column: Grandparents teach about vocations

by Father Mitchel Zimmerman

My mom’s parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on April 10. Wow! 60 years! It’s one thing to read about other couples in the newspaper. It is quite another to celebrate their anniversary Mass as their grandson.

Without them, I would have never received the life that I so much enjoy. Without them, I don’t know how my faith in the Lord’s resurrection would have been passed down to me. Even with them, the chances of my bring a priest were improbable at best.

Without them, next to impossible! I’m so grateful for my grandparents.

Of course, there is a little intimidation preaching to family. I’m the only priest in the family, and a young one at best. So thankfully, I didn’t have to audition to be the homilist and celebrant of the 60th wedding anniversary Mass. I know most families don’t have any priests in them whatsoever. No son,
or grandson, is a prophet in his own family, but as you can imagine, the faithfulness of my grandparents did most of the preaching. I didn’t need to produce any faith of my own. I just had to highlight theirs.

The extraordinary fruitfulness of my grandparents’ 60 years was a beautiful witness to their many children and grandchildren. How can our lives possibly be as fruitful as theirs? It was a question for all of us!

My grandparents did things the “right way.” They never cut any corners. They were Catholic through and through, and the grace they received in the sacrament of marriage 60 years ago has produced fruit that will remain forever (Jn 15:16).

My grandparents would be the first to tell you that they were far from perfect, but they did remain faithful. Emotions were high throughout the day as we thanked God for their love on which we all have fed.

At the reception, my grandpa thanked me for saying the Mass for their 60th. I blushed, knowing that I had received from him more than I could ever repay. After losing my mom to cancer while I was in the seminary, I remember like it was yesterday what it was like to give Communion to my grandparents on the day of my ordination. Then Grandpa said something to me that I’m certain will remain with me forever. He told me that he and grandma didn’t want all the attention a 60th anniversary would bring, but because they had a grandson who was a faithful and happy priest, they knew they had to bring everyone together for a Mass and celebration!

I’m sure he just wanted me to feel good about my decision to be a priest. If so, well done, Grandpa! I’m the happiest and most fortunate priest in the world!

About the author

The Leaven

The Leaven is the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

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