Columnists Mark my words

Saints alive! It’s what we’re called to be

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

Growing up, I was surrounded by reminders of my Catholic faith. For example, in my maternal grandparents’ home, where I spent lots of time, there was a large painting in the dining room of Jesus praying over Jerusalem, as well as crucifixes on various walls, all with a blessed palm nestled behind them.

Most memorable, though, was a tile mosaic of St. Thérèse, the Little Flower, made by my Uncle Nick, to honor the patron saint of my grandma, Theresa “Reza” Modrcin. Saints were always a big deal in my family. We celebrated the feast days of our patrons with as much gusto as birthdays and other holidays.

This family tradition explains why I have religious objects on my walls, all with a blessed palm behind them, of course. I even have three icons of St. Mark watching over me.

Near my computer is an icon of another saint whose feast day is Jan. 24 and whose intercession I invoke often (particularly on deadline day). It’s Francis de Sales, the patron of writers, journalists and the deaf. By the way, he’s the patron of the deaf because he developed a method to teach the catechism to a young deaf person (and not because the work of writers and journalists tends to fall on deaf ears!).

Even though I’ll never be a doctor of the church like St. Francis, his icon gives me encouragement to write and be an editor.

This little story explains things more colorfully:

A businessman tossed a dollar into the cup of a man selling flowers and sped on his way. Half a block down the street, however, he turned around and made his way back to the poor flower seller. “I’m sorry,” the man said, picking out a flower. “In my haste, I failed to make my purchase. After all, you’re a businessman just like me. Your flowers are priced fairly and of good quality. I hope you won’t be upset with my forgetting my purchase.” With that, he went on his way.

Several months later while at lunch, the businessman was approached by a neatly dressed, handsome man. “I’m sure you don’t remember me,” said the man, “and I don’t even know your name, but I’ll never forget your face. You’re the man who inspired me to make something of myself. I was that vagrant selling flowers on the street corner until you gave me back my self-respect and a sense of dignity. Now, I believe I’m a businessman, too.” (Story found in “Sower’s Seeds Aplenty,” by Brian Cavanaugh, TOR.)

It sounds weird, but I have a paper plate in my bathroom. Every day, I hold it behind my head like a halo, to remind myself that I’m called to become a saint. It makes me laugh, injecting a spirit of joy in my day — a joy I’m supposed to share.

This past Christmas, my parish handed out the book “Wisdom of the Saints,” words of inspiration for each day of the year. I’ll close with the book’s opening words from St. Catherine of Siena: “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

C’mon, saints in training, we’ve work to do!

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

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