Courage to Be the Man I Need to Be

by Joe LaCombe, Parishioner since 2005

It was 3 or 4 years ago. We were having a family dinner. My wife, my son, and my parents were there. The discussion was meandering about as dinner discussions normally do, and we happened to be talking about what my son Joseph would do when he grew up. And so I asked him – “Joseph, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Joseph, who was 5 or 6 years old at the time, said without skipping a beat, “You. I want to be like you Dad.” My heart melted when I heard that, but my life also flashed before my eyes, and a little bit of concern built up inside me. What kind of example am I setting for him? Am I living the life I should be living? This boy, my son, wants to be just like me… Not a fireman. Not an astronaut. Not a baseball player. Me. He wants to be like me.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. Joseph is 8 years old now, almost 9, and he had just received his First Holy Communion. We’re walking out to the Mary grotto by the pond at Seton for a picture, and we’re both walking in our suits, hands in pockets, and Joseph looks up at me and says, “I’m mini-Dad!”

My heart melts – again. And my life flashes before my eyes – again. I think of where I am in life. I think of my son, and I think of my wife Kristy, who was just a few steps behind. I think of how this parish, St. Elizabeth Seton, has become our home. Parishioners since 2005, Kristy was baptized here in 2006, and two years later, Joseph was baptized at Seton as well. And now he just had his First Communion.

Over that period, I’ve taken part in various different programs and ministries – from CRHP to That Man Is You to the Marriage Ministry, to Exodus 90, and so on. I’ve built lasting friendships with numerous men of Seton along the way, and our families have also become friends. We are so blessed and this parish has truly become our family.

One thing I’ve realized, is that everyone, especially men, need a community if we want to thrive and grow personally, especially in our Catholic faith. And though I am far from perfect, I truly feel that every day, because of this parish community, I’m growing further in my faith and becoming a stronger Catholic man in the process.

But yet I also think about the world we live in, the world my son is growing up in, the choices he will encounter, and the challenges Kristy and I face both personally and as a married couple, and raising our son with a foundation so that he can navigate the years ahead.

This is why I want to be courageous. And this is why I’m attending the Courageous event this fall. To be the man I want to be, the man God designed me to be, and to be the husband my wife needs and the father my son needs me to be – I need courage.

I need to see and hear that courage from other men, and I want to be that courage for other men. Because in this world – no matter where we are in life or where we are in our spiritual journey – to be men of faith, we need courage to do so. And that courage only comes from God – through each other.

So on Saturday, September 9 – Be Courageous!

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