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Father Muench Says...

Remembering an extraordinary day

Dec. 20, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

May the Peace and Joy of Christ be with you at this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

I promise to remember all of you and your families in my Christmas Mass.

I am truly grateful to you all for being a part with me in this column.  Each time, I prepare to write a column I think of you all.  Thank you!

I must admit that over the last few years my column at Christmas time has been the same: a remembrance of the most exciting day of my life.  So, I am certain you have heard this story before, probably often. 

As you may remember, I was invited by Susan and Paul to accompany them to the birth of their second child whose name is Will. I continue to remember that day well and all that happened that day.

I got down to Syracuse in time to join them on the way to St. Joseph’s Hospital.  For various reasons, I was the only one with them that night.  I felt very honored.  I was able to be with them during the whole evening.  I do remember overhearing one of the nurses commenting to the other nurse – “my goodness they even brought their own priest.”

I have been asked often when I tell this story what prayers I said during the birth.  I must admit I did not pray at all as I was so completely taken up with all that was happening.  My attention was absorbed by the birth and all that this new life meant.  One of the nurses was right at my side to explain what was happening and, I suspect, to take care of me if I fainted.  I didn’t.

Later, when I was allowed to hold this new born, I did take the time to pray – a prayer of gratitude for this child and for life.  I prayed in hope that this child’s life would be filled with happiness and that he would find success in life.

I continue today to remember him in my prayers as he goes through his college experience.  We now have a close bond – I held him right after his birth.

The memory of that day continues to remind me to pray for many – including Susan and Paul for involving me.  Today I have been thinking of many more I should have prayed for back then. 

As I observed that birth I do remember noticing that Susan had to work hard.  She endured pain – as you, mothers, all realize better than I.  Susan endured that pain of giving birth to her child.  I could see her husband, Paul, readiness to give support.

As I remember this, today, my thoughts are of my own mother.  She also suffered much pain in bringing m into this world.  I pray today in gratitude to my mother. Curiously, I am certain that I caused her many more pain over the years.  So, God, I offer a prayer of gratitude today for my mother’s strength – her patience – her willingness to suffer for me.

Finally, I remember that day after the infant, Will, was settled and Susan was moved to a hospital room. Paul and I headed home and, along the way, we decided to stop for a cup of coffee, even though it was 2 a.m.  We talked and,  as I remember, it was a rather impressive conversation.  We talked about tomorrow and all the future tomorrows.  We talked about hopes and dreams for this child – for all the children in their family.  It was a very special moment.  I remember it well.

So, all these years later, I still remember and continue to be grateful for that day.  It was truly the most exciting day of my life.  I know there have been others.  However, each Christmas that day still comes to mind.  So, thank you again, Susan and Paul, for inviting me on that very special journey.

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