Tuesday 23rd July 2019

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

Getting By With A Little Help From Our Friend

June 24, 2019 Frontpage No Comments


As I write this, the week’s news, both political and legal, provides plenty of grist for a column, but I’ve decided to ignore those things and do something I don’t often do. I’m going to write about something personal, something close to my heart.
It’s about a close friend of mine that didn’t get the job for which she applied.
The topic came to me over lunch while I was reading a column by Pieter Vree in this month’s New Oxford Review. Vree was writing about “The Myth of Meritocracy.” Meritocracy is the concept that suggests that status is earned, not inherited. He quotes British author Michael Young, in his 1958 bestselling book, The Rise of the Meritocracy: Society is “not an aristocracy of birth, not a plutocracy of wealth, but a true meritocracy of talent.”
Vree then spends the rest of his column picking apart the “myth” with examples and statistics that include the recent scandals in which rich parents were paying big bucks to gain admission to some of the nation’s top colleges for their children.
Now, I’m not quibbling with Vree; he makes a persuasive case to dispel the “myth.” However, the article brought to mind some of my personal experiences with those who, shall we say, were among the less fortunate in society, and one young lady whom I grew to love and admire.
I spent nearly six years as chaplain at a drug and alcohol recovery program. This program differed from some of the more traditional programs you might know about. It was for people who had addictions and who were in trouble with the law. In many respects the program was a jail diversion program. Most of the clients had multiple felony convictions, breaking and entering, prostitution, firearms possession, gang activities, and the like.
One man I dealt with, Ben (names are fictitious in this column), was facing nearly 45 years in prison. Another I dealt with was Jeri, who had a rap sheet nearly as long as my arm. I won’t go into what each had done — suffice it to say it was not God’s work. Each could have spent most of the rest of his or her life behind bars.
But they didn’t. They, much like the “myth,” pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and succeeded. But for each, like many of the others, it not only took quite a bit of inner strength, but large doses of Christian faith.
The program was located in the same building that housed the county jail. By the time Ben left the program, it included women who often posed different problems for us. Unlike most of the men, the women were often victims before they became perpetrators. Thus, I dealt with them a little differently than the men.
As I met the incoming clients, I would always make the suggestion that they become involved with some kind of faith community. There were numerous churches that would send cars each Sunday to pick up those who wanted to attend services. For those not happy with the denominations from which they had to choose, I told them that if they sought a different denomination, I would call the pastor and arrange for them to be picked up.
It didn’t take long to realize that there was an almost direct correlation between those who were willing to accept joining a faith community and their success in rehabilitation. I could almost tell at our first interview which ones had a higher probability of success due to their openness to the prospect of — as AA adherents would put it — a higher power.
That’s where Jeri comes in. I would pick up those interested in attending Catholic services each Sunday. One Sunday, Jeri, who was almost the last one I would expect to be there, was in the small group that was waiting for me. She would ride with me each week to Mass. Finally, she told me that she had been baptized Catholic and asked me how could she get back into the Church. I made an appointment for her with one of our priests for Confession.
I picked her up on the appointed afternoon and took her to the church. One of the things I noticed with Jeri — as I had with others in the same circumstances — was that the person I took back to the facility was not the same person that I had taken to the church. There was something liberating about the sacrament they received that changed their attitude.
To make a long story short, Jeri had not been confirmed. We found her baptismal record and she was enrolled in our RCIA program and was received into the Church at that year’s Easter Vigil. My wife, Luanne, was her sponsor. As I worked through the RCIA process with Jeri — we had to do it individually since she could not leave the program facility when the group met — I detected in her a yearning, almost a hunger, for more information about the faith.
Jeri, you see, had a little flame in her which was gradually being stoked into a larger fire. As I look back, most of the folks I had dealt with had that same small spark — that little bit of God — that gradually brought about a conversion of the will that gave the individual a new outlook on life and new goals. Those that failed didn’t necessarily lack that spark; it just was never cultivated. It was allowed to lie dormant and never developed into the full-fledged fire.
But Jeri, like many others, took the bull by the horns and, with the help of God, raised herself above mediocrity and took on the world. While she was in the program, she got a menial part-time job with one of the area’s large employers which she kept after graduation. She was gradually promoted within her venue to positions of more and more responsibility.
Meritocracy is not entirely a myth. I’ve seen that it can be achieved, not only by sheer pluck, but with a large dose of faith in Jesus even by those we might consider the dregs of society.
A couple of months ago Jeri called me. She wanted to tell me that five years ago that day she had woken up in jail for the last time. She thanked me for what I had done for her and what she saw as God’s plan for her life. Those are the kind of phone calls that make all the frustrations of ministry worthwhile.
She had recently applied for another job in the company. It would have been a huge promotion to a much better position in a much larger venue. Jeri told me she didn’t expect to get the job. She was, after all, only with the company five years and had no formal education beyond a GED. But she’d try anyway, if for no other reason than that it would be good experience.
Out of twenty applicants, she was given one of four interviews. After which she said she was nervous, but realized she was only a long shot.
Those who have had trouble with drugs and alcohol and who have been in trouble with the law — anyone really who has been living outside of societal norms — are often cast away, looked upon as someone not worthy of a second thought. The only reason they are that way is that no one has stoked that little spark inside of them. Think about that next time you have the opportunity to pour a little gasoline on that fire, or assist someone who can.
Churches and parishes who open their doors to those society deems undesirable are providing that fuel. Whether the person responds is, of course, up to them, but it is our duty to at least open the door. And what wonders we can do.
Jeri didn’t get the job. But the surprise was that out of the twenty applicants, she was the runner-up! She is and will be a winner — all with a little help from her Friend, a carpenter’s son whose light she saw and followed.
You can contact Mike at: DeaconMike@q.com.

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

The deposit of faith has not been guarded, instead it has been fragmented & corrupted especially in the areas of marriage, family & sexuality. I pray that bishops & all Catholics will return anew to this font of revealed truth & pray for cleansing & renewal in God’s life & grace.

Load More...

Tucker Carlson: big business is now at war against your family

July 15, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The first thing to note about Tucker Carlson is that when he’s on stage and riffing on his irritations, he is hilarious. He began his keynote speech at the National Conservatism conference in Washington, D.C. on Monday…Continue Reading

Teacher sues Catholic school for firing her over pro-abortion posts on social media

BERKELEY COUNTY, South Carolina, July 10, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A former teacher filed a wrongful termination suit against a South Carolina Catholic school that fired her for championing legal abortion on social media in violation of long-settled, well-known Catholic doctrine.…Continue Reading

Bombshell Claim: Scientists Find “Man-made Climate Change Doesn’t Exist In Practice”

A new scientific study could bust wide open deeply flawed fundamental assumptions underlying controversial climate legislation and initiatives such as the Green New Deal, namely, the degree to which ‘climate change’ is driven by natural phenomena vs. man-made issues measured as…Continue Reading

Cineplex explains decision to screen Abby Johnson’s ‘Unplanned’ in Canada

July 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-life film Unplanned, which tells the true story of pro-life activist Abby Johnson’s conversion from the abortion industry, will be shown in Canada after all thanks to a decision by film distributor Cineplex. Unplanned tells the…Continue Reading

Viganò criticizes Pope Francis’ handling of abuse allegations

Vatican City, Jul 5, 2019 / 02:47 pm (CNA).- Recently published remarks from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano take aim at two situations described by the former nuncio as “allegations of offenses against minors during Pope Francis’ tenure.” In fact, in…Continue Reading

U.S. Bishops Approve the Pope’s Capital Punishment Ban

Sæva indignatio. Few writers in the history of English letters could express “savage indignation” at human folly as did Jonathan Swift who wrote those words for his own epitaph. Our times give ample opportunity to empathize with him, and that is…Continue Reading

Due to backlash, Pell to live in ‘secure compound’ if appeal succeeds

Sydney, Australia, Jun 25, 2019 / 12:03 am (CNA).- While Cardinal George Pell of Australia is appealing his sexual abuse conviction in court, he and his supporters are making arrangements for a “safe hideaway” for the cleric, should his conviction…Continue Reading

Forced abortion decision overturned on appeal, according to reports

London, England, Jun 24, 2019 / 11:03 am (CNA).- A controversial UK court decision to force a disabled woman to have an abortion has been overturned on appeal. In a decision reportedly reached June 24, the English Court of Appeal, consisting…Continue Reading

Rosary Rally in Reparation for Homosexual and Transgender Grooming of Kids in “Drag Queen Story Hour” at Public Library in Md

A small group ranging from ten to 15 LGBTQ-obedient bots danced and played loud gay anthems like “YMCA” and “We are Family”, and holding a sign which read “Toleration is Godly”, sequestered behind yellow tape on one side of the…Continue Reading

Catholic Rosary Rally Sunday to Protest Maryland Drag Queen Story Time for Kids

Personhood Maryland is asking pro-life Christians to gather at the Lexington Park Library for a peaceful prayer vigil on Sunday, June 23rd from 3:30-5:30 pm Eastern to stand against the Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) and Drag 101 event scheduled…Continue Reading

Supreme Court rules WW1 Peace Cross memorial is here to stay

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 this morning in favor of a nearly 100-year-old World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, known as the “Peace Cross,” allowing it to remain standing.…Continue Reading

Vatican’s doctrinal office expected to release document on gender theory

Vatican City, Jun 14, 2019 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- The Vatican’s doctrinal office is preparing a document which will address Church teaching and the anthropology of the human person in the context of so-called gender theory, according to a Vatican…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.

  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love


  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading


Today . . .

Google censored video on Ten Commandments, conservative producer tells Congress

July 19, 2019 (Daily Signal) — Google denies viewers access to educational content on its YouTube subsidiary without explanation, radio host and commentator Dennis Prager testified Tuesday at a Senate hearing. “Google, which owns YouTube, has restricted access to 56 of our 320 five-minute videos and other videos we produce,” Prager, co-founder of Prager University, told the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In prepared testimony, Pr

Nancy Pelosi claims churches helping her encourage illegal aliens to break the law

July 17, 2019 (American Thinker) — Presumably, a nation’s top lawmaker would care a bit about rule of law. Not House speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s out advising people whose very first act in America was to break the law — how to avoid any consequences for that act, not at the entry point, not during the lengthy court process, but well after the courts have processed every claim and appeal, and still found them deportable

Vatican’s former doctrine head criticizes Amazon synod working doc for ‘false teaching’

July 16, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – The cardinal who was tasked by Pope Benedict with defending the doctrine of the Catholic Church has criticized the Pan-Amazon Synod’s working document (Instrumentum Laboris) for its “radical u-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology” and for its “false teaching.” Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), said the “main problem” with the working document is that “key terms are not being clarified.” His statement…Continue Reading

2 priests, 2 pro-life activists arrested trying to save babies inside New Jersey abortion center

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey, July 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Two Catholic priests and two lay pro-life activists were arrested this morning for entering and refusing to leave an abortion facility, offering red roses to the women inside and encouraging them to choose life. At least one woman turned away and didn’t go through with an abortion, Red Rose Rescue spokeswoman Lisa Hart told LifeSiteNews. The woman’s mother was forcing her to have the abortion.

Vincent Lambert, France’s Terri Schiavo, dies after 9 days without food and water

July 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Vincent Lambert, the disabled man a court ordered to be starved to death in a French hospital, died this morning. After nine days without food and fluids, showing a remarkable will to live despite the cruel death of thirst that doctors had prepared for him, France’s Terri Schiavo departed from this earthly life at 8:24 a.m. on Thursday, July 11. He died of heart failure induced by the malfunction of his kidneys…Continue Reading


Trump Fuels A Tribal War In Nancy’s House

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN President Donald Trump’s playground taunt July 14 that “the Squad” of four new radical liberal House Democrats, all women of color, should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came,” dominated headlines the morning of July 15. Yet those headlines smothered the deeper story.…Continue Reading

The Pope Vs. Pop Culture

By DONALD DeMARCO The late Antonin Scalia, speaking at a prayer breakfast in 1998, made reference to America’s consistent belief in God, but one that is not a national belief in a particular religion. His address has been reprinted in First Things (April 9, 2019) on the occasion of its inclusion in On Faith: Letters…Continue Reading

One Federal Department Now Spending $100 Billion Per Month

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate, www.creators.com, distributes his column.) + + + For the first time in our nation’s history, there is now a federal department spending an average of more than $100 billion per month. No, it is not the Department of Defense,…Continue Reading

In Troubled Times… Be Open To The Divine Assistance Of Heaven

By REY FLORES As I was developing ideas for this week’s column, it occurred to me that there are countless current events to write about, be it the political chaos, the recent Jeffrey Epstein child sex-trafficking case, yet another local Catholic parish shutting down in Chicago — all dismal. I figure that we have enough…Continue Reading

Sage Advice… On Winning The Continuing Struggle For Souls

  By LAWRENCE P. GRAYSON Every day the media bring new stories of the depravity that is permeating our nation. There are two dozen announced candidates for the Democratic nomination to run for president. Each one, including those who claim to be Catholic, supports federal funding for abortions to the moment of birth. An increasing…Continue Reading


Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World… Celebrating Life On The Moon: But Here?

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Media through news and commentary are celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first landing of a man on the moon this month, a great achievement indeed. Neil Armstrong’s great feat proved that we could travel into the solar system and see new places beyond planet Earth. The possibility of human life on the moon and…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. I am a senior citizen who has a collection of old prayer books, holy cards, leaflets, and pamphlets, as well as large-size holy pictures that are nicely framed. I will be moving soon and our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store is no longer there. Can you help me to find some person or organization who would be…Continue Reading

Cardinal Zen Warns Pope Francis . . . Vatican Directives For Church In China May Lead To “Death Of True Faith”

By BREE A. DAIL HONG KONG (LifeSiteNews) — The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong has spoken out forcefully against the Vatican’s newest “pastoral document” for the Chinese Church which gives reasons for why priests should register with the Communist government. Joseph Cardinal Zen presented nine criticisms to Pope Francis and Pietro Cardinal Parolin on a recent trip to Rome, July 1,…Continue Reading

Serve Others With Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR C) Readings: Gen. 18:1-10a Col. 1:24-28 Luke 10:38-42 In the Gospel reading today, we hear about Martha welcoming Jesus and serving Him. Martha became burdened with the task of serving and asked the Lord if He did not care that Mary, her sister who was sitting at the feet of…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World . . . Sexual Immorality Begins With Teaching Failures

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. “But you have turned aside from the way; you have caused many to stumble by your instruction; you have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the Lord of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Bridget

By CAROLE BRESLIN One of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta’s most quoted sayings would fit with this column’s saint, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful.” What encouraging words for anyone seeking to do God’s will, knowing that the cross, the setbacks, and the obstacles are all part of working for the Kingdom of…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Sts. Louis And Azelie-Marie Guerin Martin

By CAROLE BRESLIN The Lord sends the Church the men and women who are needed to keep her holy in times of trouble. Among these are: St. Francis of Assisi, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Faustina, and the first married couple ever to be canonized together: Louis and Azelie-Marie (Zelie) Martin. Their feast day is…Continue Reading