October 6, 2022

"“From all sour faced saints, deliver me O’ Lord. I don’t want to be with a grouch, a crab, a crocodile in a moat...."

More about the priest, Father Bill Holt, here. We're told "He’s famous for his 'Holt-isms' (little pieces of friendly priestly advice) and for sending thoughtful notes to encourage the brothers in their work."

31 comments:

Big Mike said...

“Chaplain in the children’s ward of the cancer hospital.” I cannot imagine a job harder on one’s emotional health. I don’t think I could do it for a week. Perhaps not for a day.

He comes across as being what a man of God should be, but so seldom is. And I’m glad that the little girl got her Cabbage Patch doll. I’m a big softy when it comes to little kids.

Lurker21 said...

Once, I might have though, "Oh, look a priest."

Now I just assume it's another trans woman.

Howard said...

Don't be grumpy. What a great philosophy.

mikee said...

My aged mom just sent me a small figurine of a saint. Not a doll, not an action figure, not a graven image or idol, just a figurine. We Catholics, even us lapsed ones, sometimes get to experience the positive effects in the world of our membership in an organization with two millenia of history.

Temujin said...

Thanks for this. A refreshing piece of humanity and kindness. I sometimes forget that part of us is still there.

Saint Croix said...

Althouse, you made me cry!

Saint Croix said...

So beautiful. Thank you for that.

Howard said...

Don't be grumpy. Life's too short and not everyone gets a cabbage patch doll and walkie talkie on their death bed.

Blogger Lurker21 said...

Once, I might have though, "Oh, look a priest."

Now I just assume it's another trans woman.

PM said...

That's way I remember priests.

planetgeo said...

This is the kind of article that keeps me coming here. And Father Bill Holt is the kind of priest I call a "priest of the city." A modern day Christ. Not the celebrated (by some) Son of God, but the man. The human. The simple one who walks among them and is not just empathetic to them but is of them and gives of himself to them.

I pray to the Bill Holts among us.

farmgirl said...

My 23yr old daughter follows humans of NY. She shares the stories w/me often.
It’s nice to see this here, w/you. Thank you:0)

farmgirl said...

I just told my daughter that you featured this- she said: “Oh! I took a screenshot to send to you!”

PM said...

the way
the way
the way
the way
the way
you may take your seat, PM.

Mike said...

I had a neighbor who had a job almost, but not quite, as hard as being chaplain in children's cancer ward. He was a doctor who practiced in an ICU for neonatal children. I don't know how he could stand it.

Mike Petrik said...

Very nice article. I've been blessed to know quite a few wonderful priests in Atlanta. To be sure they all have different personalities and charisms, but observing selflessness is an everyday phenomenon.

Inga said...

This guy is what the world needs now and many many more of him.

Sydney said...

For almost 30 years I have kept a folder I call the “angst file” where I put every hateful letter and complaint I receive. After reading this, I decided to start a “happiness file.” Afew moments after that decision I received a thank you text from a patient that I promptly printed and put in the file. I feel my attitude changing already. Thank you, Althouse, and Father Happy Priest!

Chris said...

What a delightful man!
A cheerful heart is good medicine. (Prov 17.22)

EAB said...

The walkie-talkies was inspired. Undoubtedly by experience. One of the greatest gifts/skills one can have is to encourage others. I’ve often said I want to “be like Barnabas” in the Bible. That wasn’t his real name, but the apostles nicknamed him that because it meant son of encouragement.

Side note: my husband was in Humans of NY once years ago. Photo was of him on a bench in Central Park reading.

Lars Porsena said...

Real acts of charity are only known by two people, the giver and the receiver.

Jamie said...

Real acts of charity are only known by two people, the giver and the receiver.

And anyone the receiver tells, and anyone who happens to witness the act, and God. Not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing is all well and good, but I doubt that verse means you should pass up an opportunity to do a good thing for someone just because someone else might see you do it.

Saint Croix said...

Real acts of charity are only known by two people, the giver and the receiver.

If you want to get picky, "real acts of charity" are not known by the receiver, either! Jesus says should do our charity in secret, so only God knows about it. (Matthew 6:1-4).

Also what Jesus is talking about is alms (the giving of money). What he warns us about, multiple times, is the worship of money, or the idea that you can buy your way into heaven.

Often a billionaire will make his charity public, in order to get his name on libraries and hospital wings and stuff like that. The point Jesus made is that the reward you get in the world ("what a great guy!") is the reward you get.

(Elon Musk, by the way, donated $5.7 billion to charity in 2021, and a lot of people in the "charitable world" are really pissed off about it because he did it in secret).

Saint Croix said...

You can also find Scripture that suggests public charity is well and good. For instance, Jesus also said...

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.. (Matthew 5:14-16)

So don't feel bad if you've been charitable in public! God will be charitable with you, too.

Saint Croix said...

“From all sour faced saints, deliver me O’ Lord. I don’t want to be with a grouch, a crab, a crocodile in a moat. The grumps are a small minority. But they’re vocal. Yes, the grumps are vocal. They have unresolved things, maybe from their childhood. They’re not disconnected from God. But they’re wrestling with him. Not a bad thing, mind you. Not a bad thing."

That's a very charitable thing to say, is it not?

That's not the first time I've heard a priest talk about wrestling with God. You want the world to be a certain way. You want to fix its brokenness. And you're praying to God for help. And sometimes it feels like your prayers are unanswered. And it can be aggravating.

Saint Croix said...

For two years I was chaplain on the children’s ward of the cancer hospital. What can you say? You can’t explain why some things happen.

God kills all of us, of course. But why is this child dying? It's so painful to us when it happens. Logically we know death happens to everybody. But we still get upset when it happens.

As Christians we know there is an afterlife, and this life is just a step in a journey. But we can't see this afterlife, and doubts flow in, and anger too.

Saint Croix said...

I gave one walkie-talkie to her, and one to her twin brother. So they could speak while she was in isolation.

I think that's what made me cry. I had this mental image of a bald kid talking to her twin on a walkie-talkie. So beautiful.

Notice the first part of his tweet ("disconnected from God"), and how that ties in with the walkie-talkie.

Many of us abandon prayer, because it feels like a walkie-talkie that only goes one way. An active prayer life is a beautiful thing when you make a connection with the Lord.

After she passed away the mother wrote me a letter. I keep it in my sunshine file. It said: ‘Those walkie-talkies were the best medicine she ever had.’

Bill R said...

"Widows who have lost their husbands."

Now come on Father. God only gives us so many breaths. We shouldn't waste them on redundancy.

RETCOL said...

This is how I know the priests I’ve encountered in my life time. Devoted not only to God but to humans as well. If you were to believe the stories in the media one would think half of all priests are pedophiles. This assessment is based the few that were correctly identified and punished out of a population of 420K Catholic priests worldwide. I don’t mean to dismiss the complaints nor to down play the horrible nightmare that many were subjected to. I’m also embarrassed that the leaders of my church tried to cover up this behavior for many years. I merely suggest that in any group of humans, even priests, there is always a small percentage who are bad. Child abuse occurs among other professions and positions of trust, mostly teachers, yet the hue and cry is non-existent. That’s because we expect our priests to be held to a higher standard and almost all of them meet that on a daily basis bringing hope where there is none; aiding the poor and the sick; and comforting all of us humans who struggle with our own moral issues. I’m proud to be Catholic and I appreciate the sacrifice of the church’s priests and all pastors of all faiths who help us get through our lives.

BonHagar said...

I recall my days in a group. A group of some 20 (or so) fellows all receiving an experimental array of treatments for multiple myeloma at U of M hospital-Ann Arbor, MI. After the infusion part of the trial, I saw these fellows very little. Rarely again when our follow-up appt's were on the same date/time. I was one of the youngest at age 49-50. Remembering my days of attending Gilda's Club meetings, that entire group would turn over about once a year. (the attendees did not survive either the treatment, or the myeloma) If I missed meetings, I'd have to reintroduce myself as I wouldn't be recognized nor would I know the recently afflicted. That was around 2009-2012.

The hours I've gotten that many didn't get. I likely could have used them better.



Bob Engler said...

This is one of those items I come across rarely that reminds me just how broken I am and how disordered my priorities are. It's good for me to be reminded of those things.

WTP said...

Sometime things need to be said and there is no virtue in not saying them. I call such people in such instances an Evil Jesus. See, with regular Jesus, you do the sin and Jesus dies on the cross to pay for what you did. Quite often, there is something everyone knows needs to be said or done but everyone also fears being "that guy". If said people are lucky, an Evil Jesus will speak up or do the unspeakably necessary thing, take the heat, pay the social cost so that you don't have to dirty your hands with such awful sinning. You can recognize such situations when after the fact someone gets the cajones to say, "He's right, you know". Also, more broadly, if you are in a war...