Father Joe Gorman A Fist-to-Fist Punch Blessing, My Story

Father Joe Gorman

It was a long time ago. With awe I listened to Father Joe Gorman’s story while attending mass at Our Lady of Grace church. This was not just another sermon that I had to patiently sit through and occasionally wonder when it would end. Father Joe Gorman wasn’t the pastor of Our Lady of Grace parish back then.  It was few years ago and continues to feel like I heard his sermon story just yesterday. It seems every time I get engaged in a conversation about the Catholic Church his story comes to mind. You just want to repeat it over and over again to your friends and family. Just like that Facebook ‘Like’ button sometimes you unlike so you can ‘Like’ it again and again. His story was real. It happened.

I drive by Our Lady of Grace church many times a week.  I am not a regular parishioner at Our Lady of Grace church but I am an occasional church goer. I have been there many times. I attended regular masses sometimes and I celebrated special moments with my family.  And I’ve heard many boring, disengaging sermons too. The truth is I can’t find any particular inspiration in sermons that demand me to give.

Father Joe Gorman’s story was about judgement, loyalty and giving back. For some it may be just a story, but for me it might have been a bit more, a good lesson perhaps. I know many of you who belong to the church heard it. You were there when I was there. I know you did because the church was full that day.

“You give loyalty, you’ll get it back. You give love, you’ll get it back.” ~ Tommy Lasorda

Like I said earlier, I am an occasional church goer. I don’t know him. Perhaps I never will. Last time I was at the church I remember looking at my then four year old son’s happy face when he got a fist-to-fist punch blessing at the exit from Father Joe Gorman. As my son hopped ‘happily’ away that day I thought to myself how Father Joe Gorman knows how to connect with children. He gives them attention and connects with them at a level they can relate to. From what I’ve seen, he is just about the same with everyone else. Anyway, during my childhood religious days I feared priests. Our behaviour was controlled by the implication that lightning would strike. A scary thought that was for a ten year old with insignificant sins that hurt no one. Not every priest was like that then, but the good ones were rare. Many years passed since then and times have changed. It’s not like that now.

I saw Father Joe Gorman speaking at the Mayor’s Levee at the Town Park about two years ago. I’ve seen his pictures popping up on Facebook and read news about him in our local newspaper The Auroran. I’ve also heard of him from my mother-in-law who lives in Richmond Hill and she heard about him from her Aurora friends. They say that bad news travels fast.  That may be true. But good news may not travel as fast, but definitely travels more effectively. When I hear Father Joe’s name again and again I get a jolt of good inspiration every time.

I know you want to know what story he told that Sunday. I’ll only hint that it was about a homeless man who saved some travel money to attend Father Joe’s friend’s ordination day. I am not going to tell you the story; I think it is best told by Father Joe Gorman.

Perhaps I will tell you that I learned something that day from Father Joe’s sermon story about judgement and loyalty. It was a story about giving back and a story about realization. For me it was a story to remember.

Recently in the news there was some controversy surrounding Father Joe as he was asked to take some time off.  The good irony is that the people of Our Lady of Grace are asking to bring him back. Just like in his sermon story there is no judgement, there is loyalty and many supporters are doing everything to bring their pastor Father Joe Gorman back to Our Lady of Grace parish, they are giving back.

Watching his petition numbers rising on Change.org [‘We just want Father Joe Gorman back at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Aurora, ON!‘], one could only wish for a financial investment to do the same. However, there is an analogy to the investment here. Perhaps Father Joe Gorman’s true investment in the church community will help earn him a priceless return.

Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes
Aurora, ON

Copyright 2015 Anna Lozyk Romeo / community FOCUS LivingInAurora.com

Father Joe Gorman

Our Lady of Grace, Town of Aurora

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  1. Catwilson

    I believe that Fr. Joe is a good person and the Cardinal wouldn’t have asked him to take a “sabbatical” if there was not solid evidence of wrongdoing. I think people have tunnel vision and are focusing on trying to help Fr. Joe, forgetting (and not seeing) that he also may have been asked to leave for his own benefit. The reason that details of the evidence against him are not public, is exactly to help him. Despite the fact that many people with tunnel vision don’t understand that and keep asking him to come back. Let’s just say that the Cardinal will not have asked him to leave due to minor allegations. You don’t need to be a great detective to see that Fr. Joe made some mistakes. What type of mistakes? Well it is not to be brought up publicly, but just let’s read the Archdiocese’s letter and not have tunnel vision. At the end lets not forget Our Lord Jesus Christ and Our Lady. Let’s not put Fr. Joe above them too.

  2. Antonio

    With all due respect, we don’t judge a priest based on his ability to “connect” with a 4 year old. Mr Gorman seems like a nice person but it seems this vocation may not be the one for him. I have been to many Masses where he has presided and I’ve come away wondering if I was really attending a Holy Mass and perhaps it was just a community gathering.

    There are denominations for Mr Gorman and his clueless followers who yelled and screamed at Bishop Kirkpatrick this past Sunday – namely the united Church. I suggest they check it out this Sunday.

  3. Claire

    Did you just trash the United Church? That is not very Christian or Catholic of you.

  4. Antonio

    Seriously, you’re not calling the United “church” an actual church are you?

  5. Claire

    Are you saying followers of the United Church are clueless and yell in church? That is not very Catholic or Christian of you. Jesus accepted all people, particularly the marginalized in society like tax collectors, lepers and his friend Mary Magdalene was a prostitute.

  6. Claire

    Are you saying it’s not!??! What made your faith or place of worship superior to anyone else’s?
    I’m sure the ministers and congregations of United Churches everywhere would disagree with you and say it is indeed a church. Honestly, what else would you call it??? It is the narrow mindedness and arrogance of people like you that give Catholics a bad name. I’m shocked, truly shocked, that you said that in this day and age. I am a practising Catholic by the way, but have friends who attend a United CHURCH. I assume you only associate with Catholics then?

  7. Claire

    I looked up the definition of church:
    : a building that is used for Christian religious services
    : religious services held in a church
    : a particular Christian group

    I believe both the Catholic and United CHURCHES fit that definition. (Along with other Christian religious buildings used by the Prebyterians and Anglicans)
    If, on the other hand, you were referring to Mass, then I agree with you. I am surprised a good Catholic like you would mix up those two words.

  8. 2015-02-07

    I think the best that can be described Claire about the United “Church” is what Pope Benedict XVI said of these “ecclesial communiites.”

    There is only One Church, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic outside of which there is no salvation.

    If you don’t know that, please get a Catechism.

  9. Claire

    I did the RCIA. Got it. It’s all good. Thank you for your concern for my salvation.

  10. Antonio

    Nothing against people who attend services at a United church but calling it a “church” doesn’t make it so.

    And yes, there is no salvation outside the one true faith, the Catholic Church. Your friend Joe should have told you that a long time ago.

  11. Claire

    I am not friends with Joe. Nor are your comments about Father Joe. You are defending the Catholic faith.
    But no where during the RCIA program in the mid 1990’s was I told that the Catholic church was the only Church or the only one that leads to salvation. My parents belong to the Baptist church, I have a sibling in the Presbyterian church and have two lifelong best friends , one who is United and one who is Anglican. It saddens me to think that I will never see any of them again. That was certainly not what I was told by a Franciscan Catholic priest when my father died.

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