Father Virgil's Message
They knew their teacher was a no-nonsense kind of guy at St. Francis High School in La Canada. California. Believing he was not there to entertain students, calculus teacher Jim O’Connor freely proclaimed his class as hard, saying “It drives me crazy when people say school should be fun. I mean, it’s nice if it could be, but you can’t make school fun.”
When asked by Steve Hartman of CBS News their opinion of O’Connor as a teacher, students evaded the question except to say there had been times when they kind of hated him. That was before student Pat McGoldrick, in charge of the school’s blood drive, discovered how O’Connor spends his free time. While visiting Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Pat was surprised when he mentioned his high school, because inevitably the staff person would admiringly respond that, surely, he must know Jim O’Connor.
Curious about why his teacher was so revered, Pat found one of the answers on a plaque listing the top blood donors, with Jim O’Connor’s name at the very top. Pat also learned that when O’Connor wasn’t giving blood or teaching calculus, he was cuddling sick babies. For twenty years – three days a week – O’Connor volunteered to comfort sick children, holding and feeding them when the parents could not be there. “They tend to calm for him,” Nurse Erin Schmidt said. “They tend to relax with him. They fall asleep with him.”
O’Connor, who has no wife or children of his own, says he cannot stand the thought of sick babies being alone. How remarkable that a person with no personal experience of babies is able to connect with these infants, heart-to-heart.
In our Old Testament reading today Solomon asks the Lord, “Give your servant an understanding heart.” Many, such as Jim O’Connor, have obviously asked for an understanding and compassionate heart and was given that gift. Let us pray that we too can be understanding and compassionate so that God’s love can be experienced by many.
“Lord give us your servants an understanding heart!”
SIGNFICANT MILESTONES: Are you celebrating a significant birthday or anniversary? We would love to
acknowledge these events in the bulletin and/or with a blessing at Mass. Please contact Kathy -320-743-2481 @ St. Marcus –or- Judy 320-968-7502 @ St. Lawrence or me @ 320-743-6220. Fr. Virg