My turn

Retired teacher sees election of pope through eyes of children

2013-03-21T00:00:00Z Retired teacher sees election of pope through eyes of childrenGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
March 21, 2013 12:00 am  • 

There are certainly a lot of religion-related news and holidays this time of year.

We’ve had the first papal retirement in several centuries. That necessitates an election (conclave) where the cardinals of the church elect a new pope. I was lucky enough to be subbing a day at St. Michael’s School in Shererville the day the new pope was chosen. Fourth grade is not my area of expertise, but they are fun.

The kids were genuinely excited when we were told to turn on the classroom TV to watch the announcement and appearance of the new church leader. And when we were joined by the third grade whose TV wasn’t working, the excitement grew.

I’ve seen a lot of things in my decades in the classroom, but I have never heard a chant for a pope. As we waited for the announcement several exuberant children chanted “pope, pope, pope” and "U.S. pope ... U.S. pope ... U.S. pope."

Pretty cool. It was nice to hear and see people genuinely excited about being Catholic. Here’s hoping a pope from the Americas can bring some resolution to the church’s problems.

We just celebrated St. Joseph’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. St. Joseph is closely associated with Catholics of Italian and Polish ancestry. And of course St. Patrick is the patron of the Irish and the many more who become Irish for the weekend.

At my parish, St. Victor, the Italian Catholic Federation puts on a massive spread known as the Tavola in honor of St. Joseph. It was a great success. Congratulations to chairperson Jo Merlo and her crew.

The Mass that began the celebration was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Perry, the vicar for our area of the archdiocese. His homily was based on the Gospel story of the woman accused of adultery. When the question of whether the woman should be stoned, as the old law suggested she should, was put to Jesus he replied with the famous line, ”let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Everyone slowly put down their stones and quietly left.

Bishop Perry made a great point. He said that while many of us may not throw stones at others, we might not have put them down either. If we are to live the lesson of that story, we too have to lay those stones down and quietly walk away ... from bitterness, hostility, vanity, envy, greed and all those other “stones” that we may carry. If we carry them too long, sooner or later we may start throwing them.


Calumet Memorial Park District will again be having its Easter egg hunt and prize drawings for kids 12 and younger. This will take place at noon Saturday. And the event will happen at four locations: Memorial Park (Wentworth and Memorial Drive), Sandridge Center (Olglesby and Memorial Drive), Veterans Park (Burnham Avenue and 165th Street) and Burnham Park (Greenbay Avenue and 138th Place). Come on out and be with the big bunny.

Speaking of the park district, there will be candidates for park district commissioner to consider for the election on April 9. This election will also decide who will sit on the various school boards throughout the area. If we truly value education, and we should, we need to know and help elect those whose policies guide the various districts.

And Trivia Nite Out run by yours truly, will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Victor Church hall, at Hirsch and Memorial Drive in Calumet City. Contact me for details.

Finally, as the weather warms (hopefully) and things begin to bloom again, here’s to a great spring.

Have a blessed Easter

Thanks for reading.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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