Thankful for family ties

Thankful for family ties

The oldest and the youngest, Fr. John with great-grand niece Hannah

I read yesterday in the USA Today section of The Cincinnati Enquirer that 1 in 3 Americans have cut ties with family as a result of their intolerance of other races, religions, etc. My first reaction was disbelief that this could happen to 33% of our families. My second reaction was to thank God for the wonderful blessing of belonging to a family where everyone gets along well together.

Since reading that statistic I have thought a lot about my family. I am the oldest of four siblings. My sister, Mary, is the mother of seven children and 20 grandchildren. Jerry, my married brother, has three daughters and eight grandchildren. My ten nieces and nephews and 28 great nieces and nephews are all great young people and give me much hope about the future. All but one of my nieces and nephews live in or near Cincinnati so we often enjoy being with each other. At the moment I am especially proud of one of my great-nephews, Troy Apke. He is a graduate of Penn State where he played football as a safety. Troy was recently drafted by the Washington Redskins in the fourth round, made the cut, and is now on their 53-man roster. If you are an NFL fan and happen to be watching a Washington game, you might look for him. He is #30 and plays free safety and on special teams. His being in the NFL is very exciting for our family.

And I cannot forget my youngest brother, Fr. Jim. We are 12 years apart in age. He is one of my best friends. I always enjoy being with him. Early next month we will be traveling to Siesta Key, Florida for a week’s vacation together. It will be our 44th straight year of going to Florida. We are in a rut, but a very enjoyable rut.

My first cousins on both my mom’s and dad’s sides go to lunch every month.

My dad’s oldest brother, Art Bok, built a cottage on Clear Lake in the northeastern corner of Indiana. Uncle Art’s five great-grandchildren now own the cottage. They invite me to spend a few days each summer with their family at the lake.  In the photo I am holding a sweet baby girl who was born in June.  At 83, I am the oldest and she is the youngest.

My hope for you is to experience love and friendship of family. This could be through reconciliation or understanding that sometimes family doesn't necessarily mean blood ties.

The friars and I will continue to keep your families in our daily Masses and prayers.

Fr. John


Posted in: Prayer, Senior Friars