The Catholic Defender: In The Beginning
Fr. Micek was my Pastor while I lived in Harrison Arkansas. He would be a very important figure in my life as a spiritual leader and father. I am so thankful for his ministry at that time in my life. Fr. Micek would baptize two on my Sons (Nathan and Joshua) before joining the Army and he would baptize one (Jason) after I joined.
Fr Micek had been a Military Chaplain and he sure carried the discipline as such and I think that his influence would carry with me throughout my adult life. I remember that he always celebrated the Mass with such a devotion with complete integrity. He loved the Lord and served Him well!
I recall a story he told me about an elderly woman who came to see him for instructions for the faith. Father was just beginning his priestly ministry working in a mission field in northern Arkansas. The woman wanted baptism but was still undergoing instruction when she went into a coma. After five days, a daughter of the woman called Father Micek who responded quickly to the scene. Father conducted baptism and the Anointing of the Sick. As soon as he completed the Sacrament, the old Woman quickly came out of her coma, sat up in bed and praised God and thanked Father for what he had done. Father was totally beside himself as this was his first conversion.
This story meant a great deal to me because it reinforces the Catholic foundation Christ gave his Church. Jack Chick (an anti-Catholic), had put out an anti-Catholic comic book series called “Alberto” that depicts the priesthood in a false light. Chick makes the claim that a priest cannot help a sinner at the time of death. I also remember the healing my mother received when She received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick!
Fr. Micek was a great bridge for me as I entered military life. What he portrayed in his priesthood, I came to expect with all priests. Not that any of them are perfect, but they place the care and concern of the faithful above themselves. That is a modal all of us should maintain. My youngest Son, Jason, was born on an Army Installation, Ft. Stewart Georgia. We drove from Hinesville Georgia all the way to Harrison Arkansas to have Jason baptized by Father Micek.
Having such young children made it difficult to leave home and travel to far off places for months at a time. The sacrifice that Soldiers and their families make to serve our country can take a tremendous toll on all involved, especially children. I am so glad that my Catholic faith was as strong as it was upon enlistment.
My first duty station at Ft. Stewart was a Support Battalion in the Medical Company. One of my friends in that unit worked in maintenance. He would come over to the house often to discuss the Catholic Faith. He was raised a Calvinist and had a lot of questions. After about 6 months my friend was received into the Catholic Faith. Our unit deployed to Ft. Irwin California and one night I was covering a range when my friend came late to the deployment and found me out there. He had great news as he told me about why he arrived late. What a great celebration this was as I shared with him an MRE!
I was once challenged by a Calvinist Chaplain about Jack Chick. I was at the Division Chapel and the Chaplain called me into a room with him when he made this challenge. I simply told him that Alberto claimed to be a Catholic Priest ordained in Spain and sent to Brazil to undermine Protestant churches. Unfortunately for Alberto, Christianity Today, a Protestant Magazine, revealed that while Alberto claimed he was in Spain, he was actually in Jamaica, married with children, in a Protestant seminary. In other words, Alberto is a fraud. From that point on, the Chaplain wanted to share breakfast and talk about the faith over coffee!
In the Catholic faith we speak of miracles of all kinds, none is greater that the conversion of a person when they are received into the Catholic Faith! That is the goal Jesus calls for with His great commission:
"The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Matthew 28:16-20