10 Sep

Cam von Wahlde

One day, about twenty years ago, I was looking through Dad’s Bible and found a page. It was
torn (carefully) out of diary. The date was October 28, 1941—my birthday—the actual date of
my birth.

I am an only child. I almost had two brothers. Both were miscarriages and my Mom
almost died during the pregnancies. So my birth was something special. But I never realized
how special until I read that diary entry. I would like to share part of it. It has been a powerful
inspiration to me since the time I found it. And it says in a powerful way what the pride of a
father and his hopes for his child can be.

This evening at 4:53 p.m. my wife gave birth to an 8 ½ lb boy at St. Elizabeth Hospital in
Covington, Ky. Three minutes after he was born, I heard him cry for the first time. And
while I was in the hall, the thought came to me (also tears): I said, “My baby! Thank
God it is over.” The nurse came from the delivery room and showed me my new son.
What a thrill it was to see him for the first time—a child created in the image and likeness
of God. What happiness my wife and I will have in caring for this new heir of heaven.
May the good God spare us long enough to see him well anchored in the fear of God, a
good man and a child to be proud of.

Since I first read that page, I have treasured it. That page expressed in a very real way the
depth of Dad’s love for his newborn child. He was a very good father and a very good man
throughout his life. But that page has made it all more concrete and moving!

Cam von Wahlde, formerly the Chairperson of the Theology Department and now
Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Loyola University Chicago, is a father of two and
has been a St. Juliana Parishioner with his wife Carol for 36 years.

03 Sep

John Pelrine

This article is scheduled to run on Labor Day weekend which I think of more as a three-day weekend
than the holiday that celebrates the contributions of the American worker. Maybe the extra time the
long weekend provides will allow us a few moments to think about work in our own lives.

For better or worse, many of us define ourselves by what we do at work. We spend so much
time working… if you work a full-time job that requires 40 or 50 or 60 hours every week, you are
spending most of your time awake “working”. It could be in an office, a squad car, in health care, in
manufacturing or the trades or retail or working in the home or the countless other ways we earn a
living. So, it’s not surprising that it can become how we think about ourselves or how others see us. How
many times have you heard (or said)—That’s (fill in a name), he or she is a (fill in the blank)?

If our identity is tied to work, what does it mean to lose a job because of the economy or by
getting fired? The effect can be profound—some are devastated or disoriented, others relieved to be
out of a tough situation. Either way it can produce much anxiety and disruption in our lives. Hopefully,
we can turn it into an opportunity to do meaningful work in a new setting.

In his 1981 encyclical Laborem Exercens (Through Work) Saint John Paul II upheld the dignity of
work—describing it as “sharing in the activity of God, the Creator.” John Paul also said “work is a good
thing for man.... through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also
achieves fulfilment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes ‘more a human being’.”
I’m grateful to have meaningful work and a long weekend, too!

John Pelrine is a college administrator, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 965, a member of the parish
Finance Council, married to Fran and the father of three sons, and has been a parishioner for 25 years.