The World According to Oatney
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
SuperintendentsToday is Shrove Tuesday, sometimes called "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras and for those of us who see the Christian significance and will eat the last of our over-decadent fattening foods today. It is a day for enjoyment, not of drunken foolishness as some would have it.
There is an ongoing debate now, as highlighted on Brian Hornback's blog today, about whether the standard for schoolboards in Tennessee should be an elected or appointed superintendent.
I lived and was educated in a school system with an appointed superintendent. I strongly favor elected superintendents, largely because unless the appointee is from the community in which he or she serves, their primary concern is about saving their own hide, not about the children or the people of the community they are supposed to serve.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Workin' on a buildingI realize that many of my readers may not have known Fr. Chris Rohmiller, who I paid tribute to yesterday. Many of you however, can help honor his memory and put secularists in a tight wad at the same time. For years, Fr. Chris has been trying to raise the money to replace the little A-Frame chapel that is located on a little plot of land owned by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, in the middle of the Wright State University campus.
The so called "campus community" hates the fact that the Church owns land and a building right in the middle of a secular campus, and they would love nothing more than to take the land and tear the little building down. I don't think they'll be able to take the land or tear down the little building, but Fr. Chris understood that to ensure the Church had a long-term future in such a hostile place, a real church building needed to be built there. For several years now he has been attempting to raise the money to build that church. He wanted more than anything for the secular campus that was sometimes hostile to religion to be crowned at its very center with a high cross. I can't think of a more fitting memorial for Fr. Chris than to help make that church building come into being. Even more, I can't think of a better way to give certain left wing University officialdom conniption fits.
Even if you didn't know Fr. Chris, doesn't it just make you smile when God can triumphantly be waved in the face of the enemy? We don't need to be spiteful, after all, or hateful toward the other side, because we will win the battle in the end. The Campus Ministry church building is a tiny but important front in the ongoing battle between the sacred and the secular. Won't you help win one for the sacred? You can donate to the Catholic Campus Ministry building fund by contributing to its account at the Dayton Foundation.
Campus Ministry at WSU Fund #2848
c/o The Dayton Foundation
2300 Kettering Tower
Dayton, Ohio 45423
Help win one for the sacred and help one man's great spiritual dream come true.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
In Memoriam: Father Christian A. Rohmiller
Every true Christian has, I think, a spiritual mentor, a Father in the Lord who has left a lasting imprint on their spiritual life-a person without whom their relationship with the Lord would not be the same. For me, Father Chris Rohmiller was that person.
Father Chris was many things in his life: He was a pastor, a Benedictine Oblate (he introduced me to Benedictine spiritual life), a Knight of Columbus, a world traveler, a missionary, and a campus minister. It was in this final role that he entered my life, and that was the role he valued most. He devoted his life to the spiritual and physical welfare of young people. In my case, he took a 21 year-old youngster who desperately needed for God to return to the center of his life, and he saw to it that this was precisely what happened. I walked into the little A-frame chapel on the campus of Wright State University (that was not officially on campus) and I went to Mass one Sunday. After Mass, Father Chris came up to me and introduced himself and we talked for a few minutes. Knowing that I was engaged in that search for truth that many young people that age are engaged in, at the end of that conversation, he smiled and said “well, we need to get you baptized.”
Eight months later, Father Chris did the honors.
A few years later, he jokingly told me that if his cause for sainthood were ever introduced in Rome, he would be instantly rejected as soon as the Congregation for the Causes of Saints found out that he was the priest who baptized me and gave me my First Holy Communion!
I have been told in years past that I “know everybody,” because people remember me. (Often, more remember me than I remember them!) However, this was far more true for Father Chris than anyone I ever knew. He knew everyone and everyone knew him. This truth came home to me when a student from India came to the Campus Ministry Building for Mass one Sunday and he and Father Chris began talking. As it turned out, Father Chris knew members of this young man’s family who lived half way around the world.
Father Chris’ devotion to young people was never-ending. During finals week every year, he attempted to assist many students with the insomnia that accompanies such times by providing as much pizza and doughnuts as we wanted to eat. In addition to that, he joined us for spirited conversation and many a good card game on those late nights. Every year, he took a group of students on a spiritual retreat for a weekend. For many of us, these retreats were life-changing events that re-affirmed the role of God and the Church in our existence. Father Chris’ strong preaching didn’t hurt, either. Committed to the pro-life cause, Father Chris not only preached that Christianity and Catholic life was counter-cultural, he also reminded me on numerous occasions that the Church is not a political party. “We are neither the Democratic nor the Republican Party at prayer,” he used to say.
He put his time and money where his mouth was. Every Friday night he could be found down at the Fairborn Knights of Columbus Hall selling instant bingo tickets to raise money for Catholic Campus Ministry. He even drove many of us to St. Meinrad Archabbey so that we could have a private spiritual retreat of our own. He was also the Chaplain of the Fairborn Council of the Knights, and sponsored my entry into the Knights of Columbus. He fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and helped countless many who could not help themselves. He was a champion and a voice for those who had no voice of their own.
Father Chris Rohmiller died at his Fairborn, Ohio apartment last night. I am told he had a heart attack while recuperating from the flu, and his long time assistant Joan Marquis became concerned when Father Chris was entirely too late for Mass. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Funeral Mass will be on Thursday at 12:00 Noon at the Church of St. Albert the Great in Kettering, Ohio. It is with great sadness that I must say that my work schedule will not allow me to attend-I dearly wish that it would. I am dearly hoping that there will me a Memorial of sorts at the weekend, as if there is, Nicole and I will be driving up to be there.
Father Chris was a spiritual father to so many young people. I sincerely hope and pray that in years to come, the people he touched will be a lasting memorial to his influence in a spiritually lost world.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace, Amen.
May his soul, and the souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace.
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