I worked as a lineman for an electric utility for about 15 years, climbing poles and towers, using heavy equipment and special tools, working with high voltage lines and restoring electric service in the wake of storms or other events.
It was a job that I am proud of to this day, as I had to overcome a number of fears and ineptitudes to do it justice — not the least of which was growing up with a significant fear of heights.
A lineman wears a rather heavy leather utility belt, with pouches and loops for the necessary hand tools of the trade. All the tools are heavy duty and sized for the work. My colleagues and I used to joke about being Neanderthals. It was not far from the truth.
In 1990, I was brought into a very different part of the utility. There I was given a desk, and for the first time in my life, a computer. I longed for a hammer.
I was pleased to visit recently with young folks who claim computers aren’t so bad. I had spent the better part of a day delivering iPads to four Catholic schools in our diocese: St. Mary of Mount Carmel School in Long Prairie, Christ the King School in Browerville, Sacred Heart Area School in Staples and St. Henry’s Area School in Perham.
The “Great iPad Giveaway Contest” is the brainchild of Alice Coudron, my colleague at The Catholic Foundation. To enter the contest, students are invited to answer questions related to our faith. They have been given opportunities to write essays or film skits or use other art forms to tell their stories. A small group representing Catholic Education Ministries and The Catholic Foundation reviews the entries and decides the winners.
The true engine of this contest is generosity. You see, Alice asks businesses to consider purchasing an iPad, or sending a check for one, so that we can provide access to the latest technology in all of our Catholic schools. Thanks to our donors, 43 iPads were distributed among 19 Catholic schools, grades one through eight, this year. Over the three years of the contest, 119 iPads have been given. Not bad!
It was an honor to deliver the much-welcomed iPads. But my highlight that day was witnessing, at each school, the energy and enthusiasm of students and staff. I know that same enthusiasm is abundant in our public grade schools as well, but it’s different when you know Jesus is a welcome guest and daily prayer and praise echo in your house.
Busy year ahead
There are so many great things going on in our diocese. I’m blessed to be here, among the generous, the faithful and the tech-savvy.
Pay attention to The Catholic Foundation’s calendar this year. Once again we will host “The Bishop’s Charitable Breakfast” on the campus of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph.
The first “Bishop’s Charitable Golf Tournament” is slated for June. “ACT-oberfest,” to benefit youth activities and retreats, is coming to the Falls Ballroom in Little Falls in October. Also that month, the Foundation is presenting a pilgrimage to Fatima, Lourdes and Barcelona.
All are opportunities to bring people together to have a great time while building the Body of Christ here in our diocese. God bless!