Posts Tagged ‘Year of Saint Joseph’

Image by lbrownstone from Pixabay

“My grandfather is a saint!”

I’ve heard so many folks refer to their grandfather as such. I’m sure you’ve heard it too. In fact, you’ve might have said the same thing about your own grandfather.

I can say with certainty, however, that my grandfather is a Saint. Uppercase S.

Every evening, my children end their nightly prayers with a Reader’s Digest version of the Litany of Saints. Among Saint John Paul, Saint Padre Pio, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, my boys include my grandfather, their Great-grandfather, and conclude their Holy Litany with the words:

Grandpa Farrell, Pray for us. St. Michael the Archangel, Protect us.

Legend has it, as a young man, after a brush with The Law, my grandfather dedicated his life to Our Lord. He not only gave up the use of foul language, replacing these expletives with the words “Good Gravy!”, he filled his hunger for the Lord as a daily communicant, and rejoiced in His Real Presence daily at morning Mass.

My present commitment to my Faith comes from observing the practice and observance of my Grandfather, who died when I was only seven years old.

He filled my mind and heart with stories of Jesus and of the Saints who followed Him — and not just with the adventures of the Great Saints, like Mathieu, Mark, Luc, and John, but of Catholic contemporaries who would soon become modern day Saints, such as St. Padre Pio and St. Faustina.

Recently, I texted my aunts and uncle a link to a YouTube video title “St. Michael the Archangel & the Marine in Korea” where Fr. Joachim read an account of how Saint Michael the Archangel helped a Marine called Michael in the Korean War.

In the text, I wrote, “This video reminds me of the kinds of stories Grandpa Farrell used to share. Thought you would enjoy.” Immediately, My Uncle Joe responded.

My Uncle Joe is the unofficial keeper of the legendary tales about my Grandfather, James Joseph Farrell, better known by his brothers in NYPD Blue as “Lefty” — a nickname given to this larger-than-life Irishman because he was Southpaw.

“Holly molly, thanks,” Uncle Joe responded, who then went on to share another miraculous story about my grandfather.

This one I never heard. It occurred while he was on the job in Brookyln’s 63rd precinct sometime in the 1950s or 60s.

According to my uncle, one day, “Lefty” felt the need to draw his weapon and fire his gun. Right away, this story was far different from all the stories about my grandfather that I was on raised on.

I always heard that “Lefty”, a father of a large family struggling to make ends meet on a cop’s salary, would, from time-to-time, pawn off his weapon. In the meantime, he would stuff his holster with a black sock until he purchased back his revolver when he got paid, relying only on his night stick or baton.

He didn’t use his Billy club, however, as he called it, to strike an individual. Instead, he would toss it at the legs of a fleeing assailant, skipping it on the side walk or pavement, tripping him, preventing his escape.

My grandfather, I was told, over and over again, would practice tossing his baton in their shared driveway on East 37th Street in Flatbush. Standing at one end of the driveway, he would bounce his club off the cement at his target, an old army helmet at the other end of the drive.

So, the situation had to be dire for “Lefty” to consider drawing his weapon, let alone firing it.

However, my uncle continued, as my grandfather tried to fire his weapon, his finger went numb, and he couldn’t pull the trigger. “Lefty” soon discovered the gunman approaching, through the shadows, was his partner, Johnny Rayan.

“Johnny’s grandson reached out to me to confirm the story,” my Uncle Joe added.

No doubt, Saint Michael the Archangel was there that day, as a shield of protection. At least I thought.

After publishing this post, my Uncle Joe read my blog and quickly contacted me:

Full disclosure … the intervention was by his Patron Saint Joseph the Worker, not Saint Michael.  Joseph is both his and my Patron.  

“That would’ve been a better story being this is the Year of Saint Joseph,” I replied.

Uncle Joe always had better great stories. So, I changed to title of the piece from “Good Gravy! Another Great Saint Michael Story” and gave Saint Joseph the title role.

A more suiting title would’ve been “Good Gravy! Another Great Lefty Farrell Story!” But from what I remember about my grandfather, he would gave the credit to Saint Joseph anyway.

“Lefty” retired after 27 years two months and 27 days of service wearing badge number 820. He now resides among the Saints in Heaven, where he — and St. Joseph — undoubtedly prays for us, and all police, for St. Michael the Archangel to protect us.

James is also the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, The Christmas Save and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL 

As a writer, James has been featured on The Inside Success Show, Bob Salter (CBS Radio),  Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.  

Beyond writing, James worked with At-Risk youth in Southern California for over six years.  His contributions to the classroom — featured on local television and in the LA Daily News and the Los Angeles Times’ Burbank Leader — earned him the honors of “Teacher of the Year”.    James was also twice honored by a CASDA Scholar as the teacher who had the greatest influenced that student.   As an educator, James also appeared twice on America Live with Megyn Kelly. 

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.   Besides his books, you can follow his musing on this blog Corporation You.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: