Columnists Mark my words

Make the ‘write’ move this November

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

There’s a delightful story about a husband and wife in their late 90s who were both becoming extremely forgetful.

For example, the husband would forget where he put his glasses. So, he’d go from room to room searching for them, only to forget what he was looking for. Similarly, the wife would head to the store for butter but would forget exactly what she was shopping for once she got there.

One evening, while watching TV, the husband stood up and the following dialogue took place:

She: Where are you going?
He: To get snacks. It’s my turn.
She: I want a hot fudge sundae. Write it down!
He: I don’t have to write it down.
She: And put nuts on it. Write it down!
He: I don’t have to write it down.
She: And whipped cream on top. Write it down!
He: I don’t have to write it down.

So, the husband left to get the snacks. When he returned, he presented his wife with a plate of bacon and eggs.

She: Tsk, and where’s the toast?!? (Story adapted from “The Forgetful Couple,” found in William J. Bausch’s “A World of Stories for Preachers and Teachers.”)

The older I get, the more I see the wisdom of writing things down! It’s so easy to forget — not just incidental things like snacks, but the truly important things.

One of the heartwarming practices that many parishes do during November is a Book of Remembrance. There, parishioners are invited to write down the names of loved ones who have died. At my parish, we then read a good section of those names during the prayer of the faithful at daily Mass.

Honestly, I don’t think that we’d ever totally forget our family members and friends who have died, but I suspect that we don’t remember them as often as we should.

In last week’s Leaven center spread (pages 8 and 9), we highlighted the role of holy cards in our prayer life. Many of those cards are in memory of people who have died. I make it a point to pick one up at each funeral I celebrate because it helps me to pray and remember, especially during this month dedicated to the faithful departed.

I inherited my mom’s stack of holy cards at her death. Many were so worn out from being handled that they had to be sealed in plastic to preserve them. Her cards reminded me of a slew of people that I knew but had forgotten about. Those names are now added to my prayer list.

Here are a few suggestions for making this month a holy time. If you have holy cards, bring them out and make them the focus of your prayer. Call to mind a special memory of each person and how he or she touched your life.

Secondly, haul out another type of “holy picture”:  family photos, especially those featuring loved ones who have died. Share treasured memories of folks pictured there with friends and even younger family members who may not have known them in life.

Lastly, create a Book of Remembrance in your home. Begin by writing down the names of immediate family members who have passed away and then gradually expand the circle to extended family, close friends, classmates, teachers, coaches, roommates and neighbors. You might be surprised by how many people you now know “on the other side of life.”

Yes, anytime we remember those who have gone before us is always the “write” move.

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

Leave a Comment