What was your childhood like?
I was born in Chicago and grew up in a town called Zion — it was a very Biblical town. All the north-south streets are all Biblical names. We lived on 29th and Gabriel, so I knew Biblical names before I really even knew the Bible.
You and Peggy celebrated 45 years of marriage in December — how did you celebrate?
Like a lot of people, we had to have a COVID-19 celebration — at home, staying safe, but we did attend Mass. We shared a cake from our granddaughter for our anniversary. We were married at Our Lady of Humility Catholic Church, in Zion, on Dec. 20, 1975.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have always enjoyed carpentry. My father was a tax accountant who worked for the IRS, but he always did carpentry. So, as kids, by default, we had to learn carpentry. Of course, we hated it back then — but it’s something that I’ve learned to enjoy. I like building things. Both of my sons, same thing — by default they did carpentry with me, and now they have construction businesses, a lot of which has to do with carpentry.
Do you have any particular devotions you enjoy, or saints who are your favorite?
I really enjoy the first hour of the day. I say the daily rosary. Joseph is my middle name because I was born on March 19, so St. Joseph is my favorite saint. I like it that Pope Francis has brought some attention to St. Joseph by announcing 2021 as the year of St. Joseph. A close second is St. Michael the Archangel, my Confirmation name.
Of all the ministries you’re involved in at your parish, do you have a favorite?
RCIA is probably one ministry that I enjoy the most. I consider myself a rank-and-file catechist who wants to pass on something I really believe in.
What do you think is the secret to a good and holy marriage?
I really attribute it to the sacrament itself — the sacrament of matrimony. Before that, it began with the sacrament of Baptism for both of us. It’s baptism that continues through all of these sacraments, through to the vocation of marriage. And daily compromise — I had to learn to compromise with my wife on a daily basis.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would really look at it as kind of a burden. Because it really is kind of secular — what’s this going to do for my spiritual life? But, I would probably share some, donate some and I’d really like to invest in new, emerging businesses if I had the opportunity.
What’s one question you would like the answer to?
I guess it would be, when we do get to glory, will we remember our spouses and loved ones? Peggy and I have talked about that a little bit. I believe it won’t matter, then — we’ll be in the presence of Jesus, the Author of life itself, the Source and Summit of our life, so I just don’t know if other things that are on this earth will really matter. I attended a Lenten Bible Study on the Book of Revelation led by Fr. Bob Stiefvater, and after that class I have a greater appreciation for the Mass and a different take on things like “life everlasting, amen.”
Beef stew. I was from a big family, seven kids, and as we were growing up, the only time we would get seconds was when mom served beef stew.
If you could spend the afternoon with one person other than your spouse, who would it be and what would you talk about?
It would have to be my mom or dad. The question that I’d have for them is do they take our intercessions, our prayers, to Jesus. We know that they do, that’s the devotion that we have for the saints — but I would love to know just how they take our prayers and our needs to Jesus.