ListeckiResponses of “Take 5,” an interview with a myfaith co-editor and Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, are edited by myfaith Staff. 

1. What was your favorite Halloween costume?

Actually there were two. The first one was an Indian chief and it was because my aunt made this tremendously long headdress. It literally went down almost to the calf with the feathers and stuff on it.

I remember it so specifically because both my cousin and I wanted to wear it. In the evening the neighborhood was having a costume competition and we ended up fighting in the backyard over it. My aunt wisely said, “Nobody’s going to wear it.” We ended up going to the competition and the irony of it, the winner was an Indian chief with a bonnet that was about half the beauty of (my aunt’s headdress). So we had to sit there want watch somebody else get (the award).

My home parish was St. Michael the Archangel, and my mother and my aunt made a beautiful costume of St. Michael with wingspan. It was a real eye treat to be able to see that. They just did a phenomenal job of it. It almost felt like you were able to take off at any time.


2. If there were a movie made about your life, which actor would you like to play you?

The ego in all of us wants the actor with the greatest gravitas or the actor with a tremendous physical persona. My sense is first of all there wouldn’t be a movie about my life. The reason I think not, my life, and I’m grateful for it, is fairly ordinary.

I’m basically blessed to be a kid who was brought up in a good family, played sports, did the normal things, went to the seminary, engaged good classmates, met good people, been basically blessed along the way. Hollywood likes controversy, the sense of the gritty. My life hasn’t been gritty. Do you want to see a movie of my average life?

Average people do great things all the time.

I agree. They’re more thrust in the role of greatness rather than seeking greatness and that’s what makes those individuals great. I’m hard pressed to pick an individual. I would leave it up to the director.


3. As a young Catholic, how do I get to know my faith better?

The faith is exciting. Unfortunately, young Catholics term “knowing my faith” just going to Mass on Sunday and “I’ve completed my religious education when I was confirmed.” But the one aspect, either online or in a bookstore, is reading about the faith. Getting to know the faith, reading about it, a book on church history, to be able to take a look at church history and take a look at it through the eyes of the believer. Someone who appreciates the church, not as an institution, but understanding the mystery of the church, which is present.

Another is the lives of the saints, especially for young people, I firmly believe they get excited from hearing the stories of individuals who are committed heroically in the church and it doesn’t necessarily mean martyrdom, but individuals who stood up at a particular time. (And) take a look to see what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is doing because most of our young people are computer savvy and they’re online so take a look at the USCCB website and take a look at the particular issues that are present there.

4. What would it take for you to do the Polar Plunge on New Year’s Day?

A million dollars. If somebody came up with $1 million, I’d take the Polar Plunge. I’d do it.

Would it be for your own bank account?

No, no, no. I’d donate it to the church or something. If someone said “I’ve got $1 million if you would take the Polar Plunge,” I would do it. Jan. 1 could either be 20 degrees below zero or given the craziness in our climate, it could be 40 degrees. The reason I said $1 million is because I’m not a person prone to do rash things; it has to be a purpose or reason to risk yourself.

5. What should I, as a Catholic voter, consider before casting my vote this November?

There have been some significant issues that have been raised this coming election. The issue for Catholics always is the dignity of the human person. Questions on issues of life, questions of religious freedom have been raised now concerning the church’s ability and churches of other dominations’ ability to find themselves (apart) from the government’s imposition of a definition.

It’s important for young people to educate themselves about those seminal freedoms. Life is a seminal freedom. Religious liberty is a seminal freedom. Our economy is not good, we have not bounced back and there can be a variety of reasons why we haven’t bounced back, but what happens is when the concentration is on the economy, sometimes the poor get forgotten.

It’s important to understand our responsibility to the poor and neglected in our society. And by that I mean individuals who are truly in need. You get a whole raft of questions as how we, as a society, reach out to the poor and another question: Who are the poor? But we all know there are those who are in need in society and we, as a society, need to pay attention to them.

Teachings on the church concerning marriage and the importance of the family and the home. We’ve just taken a look at immigration and how individuals are welcomed in this society and looking at means to bring some type of resolution to a hurtful question that has now been going on more than 30 years.

But for a young person, examine those issues and then take a look at the candidates and see where they are on those issues and examine them in light of that before you go into the booth to exercise your freedom to vote.