You may have noticed that the right side of this page looks a little different. In fact, the entire page looks different. I updated the html editor, and for some reason, that switched everything to Times New Roman. Oh well. More important change: there’s a new co-blogger for Shameless Popery, and I wanted to be the first to introduce him.
His name is Fr. Andrew Strobl. I’ve known him since before I could speak – the Strobls are old family friends. And of all the priests I’ve known in my life, he’s been perhaps the most important. At various points in my life, but particularly in my first years of college, I’d come to him when there were questions I just couldn’t answer about my Faith. Although I did grades 1-12 in Catholic schooling, and am in Catholic (well, Jesuit) schooling for law school, I never really received the proper faith formation or catechesis. It was Fr. Andrew Strobl (then just “Andrew”; I’ll let him decide how he wants to be called on the blog — until then, “Fr. Andrew Strobl”) who answered the tough questions; who inspired me to follow him to Washburn University, where he was my R.A. and often my transportation back and forth; who saved my Faith and my soul more times than I’m probably aware; and who was one of those really rare and worthwhile people that reminds you that a loving God exists, and who cares enough to have people like Fr. Andrew Strobl bump into you.
Here’s one example to show how he’s a great example of the sort of “orthodoxy with a smile” that Pope Benedict XVI is so famously fond of. Rather than presenting the Faith as a set of rules and prohibitions, he explains the beauty and the ideal that we should be striving for. He was the first person to explain to me that sex was meant to be unitive and procreative, and that birth control damages and alters that Divine Plan; he followed it up by sending me a copy of Christopher West’s Introduction to Theology of the Body. He succeeded in changing my mind. On issue after issue, I discovered that he (and the Catholic Church) made a lot of sense, and slowly but surely, I opened my heart to Her Truth.
So that’s who he is to me. But who is he more generally? He’s funny, orthodox, intelligent, and often random. Like me, he’s a Bishop Miege High School and Washburn University graduate; a long-time debater, and lover of debate (even after he stopped debating, he’d often have some interesting arguments I’d never considered, to sort of mull over); and a lifelong Royals fan. When asked by our high school yearbook where he saw himself in ten years, he said, “a househusband with basset hounds.” The Holy Spirit, it turns out, had different plans. Today, he’s a priest in the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas; associate pastor for Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Olathe, KS; and the chaplain for St. Thomas Aquinas High School, where my kid brother just started a few weeks ago (Ben’s a novice debater, meaning he’s going to have face Miege debaters eventually — I think he’ll do just fine).
When I last saw him, he talked about wanting to be involved in the online New Evangelization, but feeling like he didn’t have time to consistently blog or make YouTube videos, etc., since his responsibilities with the parish and school are more pressing (which lead to this post, by the way). Tonight, it occurred to me that: I run a Catholic blog, he’s a wealth of knowledge, and this blog would be the perfect place for him to be able to share on an “at his convenience” basis. I offered, and he accepted immediately. His only request was that we begin by praying for one another.* Since it’s the Year for Priests, I hope you’ll join me in saying a few prayers for Shameless Popery’s new clerical co-author.
*If you’re interested, here’s a clip of him explaining how prayer is more important than breathing.