Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

By: Therese Bermpohl

I ran into some old friends at Mass last Monday. We convened outside Church to catch up and they introduced me to their 3-year-old son, Philip. After the small talk, we began discussing the importance of handing on the faith to children. I mentioned that I can’t believe how many parents start fretting over money and options for college just days after their babies are born without ever giving a second thought to their spiritual development. Philip’s mother, Christiane, quickly agreed, saying “Heaven over Harvard… that is my motto.”

Christiane is a highly educated woman. She knows well the benefits of a good education and still she recognizes that the most important role in life is to give her children the tools they need to get to heaven. It is a sad reality that so many parents place more emphasis on a secular education than on an education that promises a life of eternal happiness.

beach-164288_640Many parents even choose to limit the number of children they bring into the world for fear that they won’t be able to afford to send all their children to college. I knew a student at The Catholic University of America. He had eight siblings and his father was consistently needled by colleagues about how he would pay for college for all those kids. To answer his critics, the good father would call one of his children over to where the vibrant debate was occurring and ask: “If you had a choice of never having been born or never going to college which would you choose?” Needless to say, the kids opted for the chance at life.

The motto “heaven over Harvard” is not to suggest that our Heavenly Father is opposed to a university education. It speaks, however, of the proper priority of living the Christian life and a parent’s sacred duty to pass on knowledge of Jesus Christ on to his or her children.

As we head into the new academic year, be sure that, in addition to placing your children in good schools, you also enroll them in CCD (Sunday school) and take them to Mass on Sundays. It will speak volumes to your children about what is truly important in their lives.

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By: Rev. Edward Horkan, Diocese of Arlington priest

“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us…run the race that is before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1).

I recalled that line often when I prepared for and ran my first marathon two years ago as part of the Race for Seminarians for the Arlington Diocese. I had been running for 20 years, having initially taken up the sport mostly to keep company with a friend of mine and with the lawyers in the firm that I worked for. Over time, I have found that running, in addition to being good exercise that keeps us more fit, is very relaxing to the mind and even leads to more positive and creative thinking.

Father Edward Horkan (bottom left) racing for seminarians in the 2013 MCM 10K.

Father Edward Horkan (bottom left) racing for seminarians in the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon 10K.

It’s a constant temptation to dwell excessively upon the past, worry too much about the future, or be distracted by the superficial images of popular culture from the reality that God gives us — the real life through which we travel to the greater kingdom. Running requires a concentrated and sustained effort to focus on the present and real challenges on the path before us. This willingness to take on a demanding task, this disciplining of the body and concentration of the mind, makes us more open to the true joy that God offers. While certainly on a lesser plane than prayerful contemplation, this sacrifice and consistent application leads to a peace and exhilaration that reflects the uplifting of one’s heart and mind to the higher kingdom.

In 2011, I joined the Race for Seminarians by running the 10K that is connected to the Marine Corps Marathon to help our generous and enthusiastic seminarians, who sometimes come from modest circumstances, to avoid financial anxieties. After running this 10K, I resolved, with some encouragement from friends, to take on a greater challenge and run the full marathon, asking kind donors to sponsor me in this effort for the diocese and our seminarians. And once again this year, I am running the marathon for our current seminarians, and also to encourage young men to consider joining the noble brotherhood of priests. As with past years, I look forward to the common sacrifice and struggle of fellow runners in this cause, an effort that builds a sense of companionship, sharing with each other and the world the joy and adventure of our faith.

Find out more at the RFS Kickoff on Sept. 4 from 6-7:30 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo in Arlington. The evening will include a taco bar, tips from a trainer, and information on the Race for Seminarians. The deadline to RSVP to the Office of Vocations on Facebook or at vocations@arlingtondiocese.org is Sept. 1. You can sign up for the actual Race for Seminarians here.


Rev. Edward Horkan is a parochial vicar at St. James Church in Falls Church. An avid runner, he has been participating in the Race for Seminarians since 2011, its inaugural year.

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