Christian Faith Formation, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, Money Counter, Parish Council
Parishioner since 1979
Retired FBI Special Agent
- What is your favorite thing about volunteering at the Cathedral?
I like to think that volunteering for parish activities is akin to the physics axiom (in paraphrase), which claims that for every action that is an equal reaction. If you teach, you learn a great deal. If a Eucharistic minister, you learn to appreciation the exquisite gift that Christ has bestowed on His Church. And so it is with every volunteering activity.
- What do you get out of it?
I actually believe that one gets a great deal more than he or she ever puts into the activity. There is also the benefit of meeting and working with other parishioners who share the same Catholic beliefs.
- What was one of your most rewarding experiences as a Cathedral volunteer?
In general, I think that the most rewarding experience is knowing that you are making a difference in the Cathedral community, even though that difference may be imperceptible. In particular, I recently had a young man, a former student, come up to me after Mass and say hello, thank me for teaching him about the faith and tell me he had come back to the Church. Needless to say, I was dumbstruck (and still am!). It’s humbling to think that perhaps I played some part in God’s leading this person back to Him.
- Why does volunteering matter?
Volunteering does matter. My mother taught all her seven children that service to others is the rent we pay for having the privilege of being on Earth. Enough said.
- What are your other interests?
My other interests relate to my friend’s advice to take care of body, mind and soul after retirement.
I exercise every day with light weights on set routines, swim at the University of Texas three times per week and walk with fellow FBI retirees around Town Lake on Tuesday mornings. (The benefits of the walk may be ruined by a visit to the Sweetish Hill Bakery afterwards!)
I keep my mind active with efforts to write a biography about a little-known Soviet intelligence officer who worked in the United States during World War II. I met the daughter of this individual in Austin before I retired, and she piqued my interest in writing the biography. It involves my love of doing research, interest in Soviet espionage (my FBI specialization) and keeping up with improving my knowledge of the Russian language. The work is slow and painstaking, but rewarding. I am about halfway through!
For my soul, I try to practice my Catholicism to the point where I like to tell people that I am a “professional Catholic.” In addition, I read at least four books a year on religion, which are usually based on the Church’s annual study recommendation, this year’s being Scripture. I reach the monthly "Catholic Update” to keep abreast of areas that I may not be familiar.
- What advice would you give to a parishioner new to volunteering?
I would advise a parishioner and new volunteer to become well-acquainted with the ministry’s mission and membership to determine where he or she could best serve. An important thing to remember is that the ministry is not about the individual volunteer but about others.