“I have a confession to make,” I told the almost 400 seminarians at St. Joseph’s Pontifical Seminary, during one of my trips to India a few years ago. They looked at me, baffled. Had I had sinned so gravely that I needed an absolution from 400 future priests?
I confessed that when I was very young, I was a seminarian, too. But I left after one day! You see, my pastor talked me into entering the seminary with promises of a beautiful soccer field. I soon found out being a priest requires more than that.
Nino, a shoeshine boy wandering in the streets of Rome, reacted with scorn when Monsignor Carroll-Abbing suggested that he knew of an institution where the youngster could learn a trade. Nino looked him up and down and said, “Who, me? Go into an institution? Marching all day in line? Not me! I can come and go as I please, and look … I’ve got a pocketful of lire!” He drew out a handful of dirty paper money, probably stolen from a drunk’s wallet. To his own astonishment, the Monsignor heard himself ask, “Would you come if I opened a center and we lived there together and you helped me run it?”
The hard-faced boy mumbled, “Yes, if it was you and I could help you.”
King Rehobam, son of Solomon, had 28 sons and 60 daughters. Can you imagine what it would have been like for him to get all of them back to school each year? He needed to buy 88 parchment rolls, 28 tunics and 60 garments, sashes and girdles, and lunchboxes … or whatever was used at the time!
I’m delighted to say that my family is even bigger ... I have 1,500 kids.
Have you ever been shopping with little children in a megastore? It’s not a pleasant experience.
When I go with my three little ones, I must figure out a strategy to avoid any aisle displaying toys, candy, lollipops, sugary snacks and many more items ...
Of my four children, Chiara, who is now six, is the troublemaker. Despite her innocent look, she is constantly setting fires.
On the first day of school, her teacher Miss D. asked her, “What does your father do for a living?”
Without hesitation, Chiara replied, “My father takes money from the rich and gives it to the poor. He is a like Robin Hood… He usually goes to rich people’s homes at night… he brings his people with him to do the job…”
Not too long ago, my four-year-old daughter Arianna was struggling with a simple math problem in pre-kindergarten.
To help her with the concept of addition, I formulated the problem in a different way and asked her, “If you hold three apples on one hand and four apples on the other hand, how many apples do you hold in total?”
Without hesitation, she replied, “Two!”