A Parent’s Reflection

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

James Keefe, the father of Daniel, a Quigley discerner, believes that car rides while your children are looking out the window, watching vehicle after vehicle pass are probably the best opportunities to converse with them. “It was those car rides or working in the yard where I probably had the best conversations with Daniel,” he noted. “I’m a proud father of two and I say a prayer to the Holy Spirit to help me say the right thing and to listen twice as much as I talk.” The busy-ness of life in our culture and the low priority it sets on the faith motivates Keefe and his wife, Melissa, to provide their children support, especially when it comes to discerning God’s plan for them. “I am thankful to the Archdiocese of Chicago for helping us balance our children’s spiritual lives with academics, sports and the other things that compete for attention. There are times parents feel pressure to choose taking their child to a Little League game rather than Mass. There needs to be a realignment in priorities,” Keefe stressed.

 “Daniel is a junior in at Northridge Prep. It’s an all-boys Catholic high school. I appreciate that there is a chaplain on staff and daily Mass available,” Keefe said. Blessings such as their son’s high school and special programs that help nurture and form their children in the faith are important to Mr. and Mrs. Keefe. “Without a doubt, young men need a strong support system for their discernment and we are thankful for the Quigley Discerner Program to help them with their decision,” he said. “People with religious virtue can feel isolated in today’s society. Daniel enjoys talking with Father Tim and other students with similar values in his age group.”

It might have been a coincidence, or the work of Providence, but Keefe was looking for such opportunities when he saw the invitation to Who Will Fill These Shoes (WWFTS) in a flier or parish bulletin announcement. WWFTS is an annual Vocation Office event based on the last statement from Fr. Ivers, a deceased priest from St. Joseph in Libertyville who finished Mass by taking off his shoes and asking his parishioners, “Who Will Fill These Shoes?” In past years, this annual event has hosted young men open to the call to the priesthood with their parents for Mass, discussion, and dinner. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the December 29, 2020 WWFTS activities were limited to in-person and livestreamed recitation of the rosary followed by Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert Casey. “Because the pandemic has caused us to be isolated, it’s important to come together and nurture interpersonal relationships.” Keefe stated. He enjoyed the bilingual rosary and stated, “Bishop’s homily was good and spoke to the boys at their level. Fr. Tim does a great job in welcoming each person by name. Daniel also appreciated the event very much. If we were in a different time, we would have both appreciated more time to connect with families.” When asked if Keefe would go again, he said, “Absolutely, we need to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit and stay connected to the program and mission.”

Parents such as Mr. and Mrs. Keefe who are led by the Holy Spirit to support their children’s discernment are courageous and noble. They agree the best achievement is knowing our children will feel free to say “yes” to the calling rooted in the depths of their hearts, knowing they are fearlessly loved by God.

Author: Erica Zapien