A Bishop’s Greatest Lesson


This Bishop taught me to love.

More importantly, he taught my son to embrace holiness.

Today, Bishop-Elect Daniel Garcia will become Austin’s first Auxiliary Bishop. And, no doubt the Mass will be beautiful. I’m quite certain there will be some poignant moments as his family recognizes his new appointment. The altar will be spectacular as all those priests and bishops gather to celebrate the consecration. And, yes, I’ll probably tear up a tiny bit (blaming it on the nursing hormones).

But, my tears won’t be because a great man is becoming a Bishop. No, those tears will come because of the great influence he’s had on my eldest son.

Several years ago, when we joined the parish, Fr. Danny was one of the first welcoming faces we saw. He was quick to greet us, welcome us and invite us to share our gifts of time, talent and treasure with the community.

There have been pictures with the class frog.

class frog_004Hugs for leading VBS.vbs_20120615_7812, blogThe baptism of our niece.

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And dinners at our home.

But, all those pale in comparison to his greatest gift to our family: instilling a love of the liturgy with our oldest, Will.

You see, Will began his altar serving tenure at our parish, under Fr. Danny’s leadership. “Mom, I don’t WANT to altar serve,” he sighed. “Just do it for one year and after that you’re off the hook,” I replied.

That was four years ago.

When Will took the step to become an MC (master of ceremonies) as the lead altar server, I wasn’t prepared for how my heart would handle that Mass. Will was nervous. Heck, I was nervous. But, Fr. Danny confidently guided Will, gently led him through his shaky hands and unsteady page turns of the missal. In turn, every time I see Will serve, I witness reverence.

I see beauty.

I witness Christ’s love in action.

And all that is because the Holy Spirit worked through Fr. Danny. Our God is an awesome God, isn’t He?

Just last week, one of the teachers at school pulled me aside and said, “I just love it when your son serves at school Mass. It’s just a beautiful sight. You can tell he loves the Mass.”

And I almost cried right there in bay two at carline. Then a sibling hit another one and I had to referee a fight.

Bishop Garcia (good gravy, that is going to be hard to remember!), if I may say these words just to you:

Thank you. Thank you for so lovingly and passionately sharing your love of the Mass with so many, especially our son. You see, every time he walks to the altar, I am blown away by his reverence. By his purpose. By the love that he shows Jesus. That doesn’t come through repetition, or by accident. That comes from watching someone who serves with the same love, the same purpose and the same passion. Wherever God is calling Will to serve as he grows into a young man, I am confident of one thing. The love of the liturgy and of Jesus’ sacrifice will remain with him for a lifetime.


 All unwatermarked photos are courtesy of Pat McCord.


  1. DPugh on March 3, 2015 at 8:32 am

    WOW! With tears in my eyes, I am proud of Will, proud for the new Bishop Danny, and proud of YOU, too!

  2. Deme on March 3, 2015 at 9:09 am

    You have me tearing up! How very special to watch that love of Christ and the mass develop in Will’s heart. What a great day it will be to see your priest become Bishop Garcia!

  3. Andrea in Aggieland on March 3, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Ack….my eyes are tearing up as I sit at my desk at work! So beautiful. I hope my son takes on the roll of alter server like Will did.

    And you’ve convinced me I need to do something I’ve never done before…invite our priest over for dinner. And Deacon Tom too.

    • Kathryn on March 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      We love Deacon Tom!!! Invite Msgr. over for dinner. You won’t regret it.

  4. Verdina on March 3, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    What a blessing! I’m sure God has great plans for that young man. His Godfather would be so proud, too! He also loves the Mass and all the sacraments.

    God bless you, Will!

    • Kathryn on March 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

      We hope so, too, Verda. Will has had some great role models.

  5. Katie on March 3, 2015 at 3:58 pm

    Beautiful, Kathryn! What a testimony to the power of the community church, and the fruits of developing a close relationship with your parish and parish priest. Such wonderful photos capturing faith in action. You and your family continue to be an inspiration!

  6. Susan on March 4, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    I am weeping with joy! The boys are behind my back right now saying, “That is SO AWESOME!! MOM! WHY ARE YOU CRYING??!!” How special, Kathryn, thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Meghan on March 5, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    How wonderful! What a blessed event for the Austin Diocese!

    Our (former…boo, hoo) Bishop made a huge impression on our oldest. Since our home parish is the Cathedral he has had the opportunity to serve at most of the big Bishop’s Masses. After an ordination he told me that he never knew where Bishop was before Mass as he always seemed to sneak in at the last minute. My son went a different way to get his alb and happened upon the Bishop kneeling in prayers before the Eucharist which is what he does before every Mass!

    Thank God for these great holy men who inspire our young men!

  8. […] him at the reception I busted out with, “Congratulations, Fr. Danny!” Lawd. Yes, our former parish priest became Austin’s first Auxiliary Bishop this week. As Scott glanced up to the altar he quipped how old he was based on the fact that […]

  9. Julie on July 30, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Bishop Garcia was visiting our parish today in the U.P. Of Michigan! I almost asked him after mass if he was the Bishop that Kathryn Whitaker raves about on her blog, but I didn’t have the nerve! What a small world! 😊

    • Kathryn on August 1, 2017 at 9:11 am

      You should have. He’s so great!!

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