October 8-9, 2016


This holiday weekend (Columbus Day) reminds me of three things that I am going to share with you. They are random and have nothing to do with each other.

1.) I am imagining what the ticket prices would be if there was ever a Sox/Cubs World Series. The Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs have such storied histories and both clubs have had long droughts. The Sox were 86 years without a World Championship prior to 2004, and the Cubs are still awaiting their opportunity. Their last championship was in 1908. Both ballparks are the oldest in the major leagues. I am writing this on September 24th because of bulletin deadlines. I hope both teams are still standing as you read this! This matchup could be the most-watched ever in any sport. And Theo Epstein would be responsible for both success stories.

2.) For 31 consecutive years I ran a parish track meet at St John’s Seminary in Brighton for 7-14 year-old girls and boys. The track meet was always held on Columbus Day from 10:00 am—2:00 pm. Every parish would bring 24 children (12 girls/12 boys). We would have between 15 and 20 parishes competing. That would mean between 360 and 400 teenagers present. The events took place on 2 fields and it was organized like clockwork. There were age groups (7-9, 10-12, and 13-14; boys and girls). They competed in 6 events (100-yard dash, relay race, 50-yard dash, sack race, softball throw, and wheelbarrow race). The day concluded with the awarding of trophies and ribbons. I am getting excited just thinking about the energy and enthusiasm present throughout the day. I brought this idea back from my 2 summers in New Orleans while I was in the Seminary. The track meets at St John’s “ran” between 1973 and 2004. Those were the days!

3) On a sad note, this weekend marks the 6th Anniversary of my cousin Joe’s death from an overdose. He was 34 years old and struggled for many years with his addiction. He had a troubled background but was surrounded by people who loved him (including me). He played CYO basketball, graduated from Catholic Memorial, lived at home, had a son, but just was unable to put it all together. We gave him a lot of support and encouragement. He went into detox and rehab and would do well for a while. He had a difficult time holding on to a job. There was a history of addiction in his family and early on he seemed to defy the odds. His grandmother (my aunt) was his greatest cheerleader. He wanted to be a good father to his son, but he was unable to make that commitment and the guilt brought him to tears. He died in the hallway of a friend’s house. When I went into his room after he died, he had 3 things on his mirror; my mother’s prayer card from her funeral, a letter I sent him along his journey and a medal of Christ that I gave to him, and which I now wear. As I write this I am looking at his picture on my desk. Some things are hard to believe. 

Have a great holiday weekend.

Enjoy Life!
Fr Coyne


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