I am pretty sure I won't be giving a speech, just as I know for a fact there are men and women getting honored tonight that have been passing on the Truth of the Faith far longer than this kid.
If I was going to give a speech, I would give thanks to God for sending His Son to found a Church that helps me walk towards heaven.
I would also thank my Mom.
Yeah, yeah...I know. EVERYone thanks their Mom when they win something or make a touchdown or round the bases for home.
However, I really am thankful for my mother. She was raised a nominal, Cultural Catholic in a farming community. She is the first person to state she was not well catechized as a child. Yet she sacrificed a lot to make sure her only children received their Sacraments of Initiation and learned The Faith.
What did she sacrifice?
Mom became a divorcee in the early 1960's. I was the only child of divorced parents at my little Catholic School and I will tell you the majority of the kids in my class were cruel and nasty. I won't go into it - it is water under the bridge and all is forgiven - but my Mom struggled to maintain her integrity in a world that was changing fast.
She did just that - maintained her integrity.
Mom never dated. She told our parish priest that just because her husband would not honor his marriage vows did not mean she wouldn't and she embraced her vocation of Motherhood with her whole heart and whole soul. Mom told me she was mocked for being so devoted to her children. Her only support was her family and her best friend, Harriet. She took her children to Mass. Her son was an Altar boy. Her daughter sang in the choir. We prayed every day at home. She received the Sacraments because she lived the life Holy Mother Church told her she needed to live.
Both of her children strayed. One came back. Not bad - batting .500 - better than a lot of the SF Giants this season.
Today my mother is 95 ½. She is tired and she is sometimes disgusted by the world today but she is still Catholic. She reads my books on Dominican spirituality and the saints and she never stops learning.
I am glad I get to be a Catechist today - but I am deeply grateful for the life my mother modeled for me and my brother.
I have big shoes to fill.