Good afternoon. My name is Charlie Roarty and I have been a parishioner at St. Clare off and on since 1964 when my family moved to Audubon and I entered the 2
grade at St. Clare School. From there it was off to Austin High School, the University of Dayton, and the University of Michigan. Following graduate school, I served in the Peace Corps in Malaysia, teaching Civil Engineering basics at a trade school. Upon returning to the US, I worked for four years in Chicago, returned to Detroit, and took a job with an engineering consulting firm where I have worked for the last 28+ years. I married my lovely wife Debbie 23 years ago and we have been blessed with 3 great kids who went through St. Clare and are now all in Catholic high schools.
Through the years I served as an altar boy, was a member in the boys’ choir, sang as a cantor, taught in a religious education program, worked with a youth group, sang in a Gospel choir, drove a church bus, and helped with small repairs at Church. In my spare time, I played sports, was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout, tutored grade school and high school kids, coached youth sports, served on committees for professional societies, volunteered at local universities, and I’m currently the Scoutmaster for the Boy Scout troop here at St. Clare. I have been a Catholic and active in the Church and the community my whole life.
The funny thing is that I did not feel a calling to anything in particular. Despite sixteen years of catholic education, regular attendance at mass, and recently, annual retreats, I felt a lack of spiritual direction. I didn’t know if everything I’d done throughout my life was really in keeping with God’s plan for me. By the same token, I haven’t been as faithful to personal prayer as I have been to communal prayer. I’ve always figured that if God wanted me to be doing something special, he would let me know somehow. Kind of a silly approach when you think about it.
At the same time, I knew that God heard my special petitions, as infrequent as they were. Seventeen years ago, Deb was at 28 weeks with our second child when she went into pre-term labor. A trip to the hospital and some IV fluids stopped the contractions. Two weeks later, the contractions started again, but this time the IV fluids and medicine did not stop the contractions. The doctors informed us of all the risks, administered steroids to prepare the baby for premature delivery, and told us that the baby was coming that night. With a little time on my hands, I went downstairs to get something to eat. On the way back up, I passed the hospital chapel and stopped in. I prayed for the health of Deb and the baby and that God would give us the grace to handle whatever happened from that point forward. I felt calm and reassured. Upon returning to Deb’s room, I learned that the contractions had suddenly stopped while I was praying in the chapel. I don’t believe it was a coincidence.
I know that I’ve lived a blessed life and I should be content with that, but to be perfectly honest, there have been plenty of occasions where I regretted getting involved in some activity, both at church and professionally, when the volunteer effort turned into a burden. I signed up for the Called and Gifted program here at St. Clare last year because of the promise to help find your true gifts. More important to me, was discerning what weren’t my gifts so that I could unload some of my commitments.
Through that program I learned that I had potential charisms for service, teaching, and giving, no surprise there given my volunteer activities. The program opened my eyes to other gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as faith, that have also been present in my life. I believe now that all along I was following God’s plan. I’ve met Christ through all the adults who worked with me in my youth, the strangers that have treated me with kindness, and through all the other volunteers that I have worked with over the years. I was never alone. I see Christ today in the joy of our youth when they accomplish something they never dreamed of, in the way people care for their elderly family members, and I pray that by my actions I share Christ with others.
My resurrection story is that I’ve come to trust that God is always with us, in each other. Every morning I ask the Lord for the grace to handle whatever happens during the day and often solutions to problems present themselves. Every night I thank Jesus for the blessings of the day. I feel the need to keep searching for Christ in all things. I guess that, as imperfect as I am, God isn’t done with me yet.