We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics. My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”
Michael J. Sheehan
Archbishop of Santa Fe
It Takes Guts
When I grew up before WWII in Gulfport, MS, which claimed a population of 12,000 including a few dogs and cats, everyone knew the religion of everyone else. Today, especially in metropolitan areas, one’s religion is kept as a guarded secret. I read this statement by St. Timothy and agree that we Joyful Catholics have these three roles, I was appointed preacher and apostle and teacher. I am not ashamed, for I know him in whom I have believed. I was also impressed by this saying and decided to act –
Are you willing to be committed to the splendor of truth that is found in Jesus regardless of what others might think of you?
I ordered a supply of car stickers with the statement I AM A JOYFUL CATHOLIC. For the first test, I put one on my car. Instead of sticking it on the bumper, I put it on the bottom of my rear-view window where it can be seen clearly.
Each week, I get to Mass early and park in a prominent space where everyone will see
the sticker. No parishioner seems to have noticed it. In our large condo parking garage where the car sticker will be observed by my many fellow residents, no one has mentioned it. The only person who has commented is my splendid priest who said quietly, “I like it.” It is the same as if a friend had seen me having lunch with a bimbo and discretely acted as if he hasn’t seen me. I wonder if others would ignore my sticker if it said, THE HELL WITH YOU, BUSTER or GO STICK IT UP YOUR ASS.
My only hit was when I was parked in a shopping center and a grouchy looking woman said to me, “I’m not joyful but would like to be. Why would being Catholic make me happy?” This caught me off guard, and I said, “That’s a good question. I’m joyful because I am assured by Christ of having a joyful existence if I follow his two advices – to love others and love God.” The woman thought of this and suddenly smiled. She nodded and then drove off.
When my granddaughters, who have never been in a Catholic Church, were here for the holidays and borrowed my car, I told them while driving to keep smiling and not to cut anyone off. I chuckled the morning when I was driving my friend, retired Rabbi Jon, to breakfast, and he was sitting by me wearing his red yarmulke. Several drivers passing by gave us a second look.
In the Pope’s General Intention for this month, he said, “That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ, and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.”
Test yourself and see if any of you have the guts to put my I AM A JOYFUL CATHOLIC sticker on your car. If so, send me your name and address and I’ll send you, as a gift, one (or more) of them. email@example.com
Roster of Joyful Catholic Priests
The media loves to publicize bad priests, and we should give recognition to our Joyful Catholic Priests. Send me your recommendation for ones you think merit membership in this splendid group. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please click on the video below to see a list of our joyful priests