By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
Catholic Schools Week was flush with rosy-cheeked children visiting the Pastoral Center and loving their opportunity to snap a selfie with our Bishop Edward J. Burns.
At the same time, I was celebrating the Foundation Year of St. Gregory’s School in Tyler with a lively and enthusiastic flock of fifth-graders (the oldest class now since the upper grades have been assigned to the Tyler Catholic High School).
Those young people changed my thinking about the “School of Hard Knocks,” which I mentioned last edition. I have discovered over the years that we all are in the “School of Life!” Lessons begin early and last in every nook and cranny of our lives. I need to salute some of my “after graduation” teachers.
First of all, there were the scientists who explored the earthly creation, which wonderfully surrounds us. Remnants of the Garden of Eden press upon our senses with the Divine Inscape of God.
My father showed me the beauty of rocks and of minerals. He sliced them with a diamond laced saw and delighted in the images trapped inside. I learned two painful lessons in Arkansas at the Crater of Diamonds State Park when the guide told us that all our beautiful stones were neither gold nor diamonds. That same day on Quartz Mountain my bloody fingers, which had greedily worked crystals from the soil, reminded me to always wear gloves!
Warren Pulich Sr. was my mentor in many trips to the outlying counties of North Texas, where he taught me (with much patience) to identify the feathers and the calls of many birds.
Brother Carl Evans and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart showed me their skills at fishing and hunting which they had learned in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Bruce Theunissen, the director of the Greater Dallas Community of Churches, witnessed to the fact that we all are God’s special children. He showed our students at John XXIII School how to take the polished rocks (from my father’s tumbler) and paint two words on each….Mir and Peace! During our trip to Russia in 1972 , as guests of the Russian Orthodox Church, we handed out these beautiful treasures to all we met.
Even now in my old age, I am happy to learn new lessons and behaviors. I’m inspired after reading the advice of Henry Ford to young aspirants, “The first thing you must do in the morning is make your bed well and then face the rest of the day feeling confident that you have accomplished the first success of your day!”
In 2020, Pope Francis is our current teacher. Make your vision of Mother Earth one of love and caring. Every day make at least one small, healing difference!
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.