Monday, December 29, 2014

How Paul changed my brother's life...

My friend Ann posted today about Paul. I told you about Paul on Friday.  I told you he's the best kind of dude, because he is.  Everyone is praying for a miracle, and I am hoping, hoping, hoping a miracle will happen.  Her post today wasn't full of awesome.  Here's what it said...

"Update:  Paul's been coughing up a good deal of blood and having some breathing/pain issues, so the dr is getting him in early for his CT scan (today instead of Wed). Please pray that it goes well and that his lungs will miraculously be clearer than they were in his last x-ray.  Thank you for all your continued prayers.  We couldn't get through this without you all!!!"

Obviously, when your friend who is more like your family is sick, it gives you a moment of pause, a moment to reflect.  The other night, I was with my sisters.  We started talking about Paul and we all ended up crying a bit.  He's that kind of good you guys.  The kind of good that has you crying at even the thought that things won't be okay.  Paul hasn't just been a huge influence in my life, he's been a huge influence in everyone's life who have the pleasure of knowing him.

My brother Brian was Paul's best man. I already told you about that.  But I didn't tell you the story of their friendship. I'd like to do that now.  Then I'd like to tell you why my heart is so overwhelmed with gratefulness and what I really really need from you.

I went to a pretty fantastic Catholic college called Franciscan University.  A lot of you know that. The school has it's problems, and I could probably list some of them for you.  But overall, it was a pretty perfect college experience.  Mostly because I was able to be with peers who believed in a God who loved them. For four years, I was able to let that impact my life.  When I went to college as a freshman, my brother Brian was busy sewing his wild oats as a junior in high school. I could tell you stories, but I think he describes it best as 'sex, drugs and rock and roll'.  He wasn't making good choices.  My family was worried about him.  My mom and him were going to come visit me and Brian was upset.  He figured my mom was trying to manipulate him into some Jesus environment so that his heart would change (he was probably right).  I remember talking to Paul and telling him,

"Paul, my brother is coming...I need you to show him you can still be 'cool' and Catholic- can you please do that for me???"
Super cool freshman Catholics

With confidence, he promised he would.

Then my brother visited.

And freaking Paul shows up at my dorm with a ridiculous outfit (probably a neon shirt and those silly gecko pants he used to wear), but worse than that...he had put on a MULLET WIG.

Paul proceeded to tell my brother that he was showing him how to be cool and Catholic.

Evangelization Manipulation Fail.

Big. Time.

us at Paul and Ann's wedding
But time went on and Paul and my brother Brian stayed close.  Paul and him are very athletic, they used to rock climb together, camp together, do stupid stuff that's just barely legal together.  And slowly, my brother started to see that being Catholic or Christian didn't mean you had to have a lame life.  Being Catholic could mean waking up and going for a four mile run, hitting up daily Mass, reading some bible, pulling some pranks, and ending your day jumping off a cliff somewhere in West Virginia.  Being Catholic meant being joyful.  And Brian wanted a piece of that.

Brian's heart changed.  And he eventually decided to accept that God loved him enough to want what was best for him.  Brian was in the seminary for a long while before discerning he was called to marriage.  He is married now, to a lovely woman.  He has seven children, three through adoption, three in the last four years and his wife is cooking the 7th.  He's a man of faith, who inspires others...

But, if it wasn't for Paul- he would have been a different man.  Paul's friendship changes people.  That's spreading Jesus.  We (as Church professionals) read books, attend conferences, listen to speakers... all to figure out how to show people Christ.  Turns out- you can just love Jesus, climb some mountains and occasionally throw a lizard down the back of your best friend's shirt (freaking paul did that to me 12 years ago- I'm still not over it) and show people the person of Christ.

We can all learn from Paul.

men who love Jesus...my brother included :)
I asked you to pray.  And you have.  I have gotten so many messages of prayer from so many of you who don't even know Paul. I am so thankful. We are praying in our house.  Our kids are praying for Uncle Paul. So many of you are offering novenas, sacrifices, intentional prayers for a miracle.

And we need them, because, although I am miss positive positivey... but our Paul had to have his CT scan rushed because he is coughing up blood.  And it scares the hell out of me.

I asked you to prayerfully consider donating, if you have room in your budget.  And you have.  I was blown away, literally blown away by MY friends and family who have never met Paul, but who made a donation. Some of you did it anonymously. Thank you. So.Much.  Some of you posted and I will be able to thank you because I saw your name.  Friends from ministry, friends from social media, family members... you have blown me away by donating to my friend who is so deserving.

We have more work to do. The prayers need to be intensified.  We've got to pray Paul through this because Paul shows people Jesus.

A couple years ago
The monetary donations have blown me away, but we have to get more.  Would you believe almost 20 k has been raised in three days?!?!  But. I promise 25 k is just the tip of what my friends are going to need. Please please consider donating.  There is a new site put up because more of the donations can go directly to Paul.  Please link here.  Donations of $10 are great, Everything matters.  And like I said, it will make Jesus happy.

Thanks for reading this you guys.  Thanks for praying. Please pray more.  Share this if you can, to get more people to the site where they can donate much needed money for Paul and Ann's housing and medical expenses.

I'm just so worried.

Praise God updated from Paul's sister at 1015 pm...

Thank you all SO MUCH for the prayers, Masses, sacrifices & encouraging words on Paul's behalf today! I'm so thankful to report that, in spite of the dire symptoms, his CT scan didn't show anything that they didn't already expect to see. He still has all the cancer nodules on his lungs, but the dr. thought it might have spread to his abdomen too, and there's no sign of that in the CT scan! Praise God!!! They're trying to get an appointment with an oncologist later this week to develop a treatment plan. Another small miracle: his primary doctor is ok with him traveling to CA next week for our brother's wedding! That is contingent on the treatment plan, of course, but it's good news that his dr. isn't too concerned to have him travel! He's still physically wiped out & in pain, but those of you who know Paul know that a little (or a lot) of pain never stopped him  I have such a thankful heart this evening! I know your prayers sustained Paul & all of us today...thank you! Please keep up the prayers, and I will keep you posted on his treatment.
Keep those prayers up!!!!!!


  1. Beautiful. I remember many a morning when some crazy Catholic would jump on my bed and scream, "Wake up!"

  2. Seriously Mary...More Tears...Paul is the personification of proclamation of the gospel at all times, using words only when necessay. Thanks Mary. Speaking on behalf of everyone...lol...please share more, especially the pics.

  3. Count on our fervent prayers for Paul, Mary! He's such a great, great man! And your posts about him are wonderful. In most of my memories (and pictures!) of Austria, Paul is doing something crazy and/or seemingly physically impossible in the background. Praying the Lord multiplies his unique gift for kicking natural limitations in the pants!

  4. Thanks for sharing that beautiful story. I knew Paul in high school and it sounds like he hasn't changed one bit!