Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blood on a pew

I just finished reading Blood on a pew by William Gaines. Bill and I played together briefly in a league team in the 1980s. The highlight for me coming on September 20th, 1986 when we beat my older brother's team 40-0.

Bill's son was given a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh at the same time as Larry Fitzgerald. The two soon became friends. Fitzgerald would later become the best college receiver in the nation and almost gave the Arizona Cardinals a Super Bowl victory.

If it was Fitzgerald that was known for his size, hands and great leaping ability, it was Billy Gaines that was known for his remarkable toughness and speed. Incredible speed... sick speed.... world class speed.

At a combine at Penn State University, Billy Gaines was clocked at a jaw-dropping 4.22 in the 40. You read that right...four-two-two. That is Darrell Green speed. That is Deion Sanders speed. That is Michael Vick speed.

Tragically, Billy Gaines fell through the roof of Saint Anne's Catholic Church to his death on June 18th, 2003. I was living in Jackson, New Jersey when I got the news.

Blood on the pew is the story of a family's journey through despair and anger to forgiveness and discovering Our Lord in the storm. This, and other tragedies, would test this poor family to it's limit. I recommend it and have invited Bill onto our show.

Bill is a protestant but with a heart after God. To be sure, there are members of the Church I love that have some culpability for Billy's accidental, but preventable, death. These questions deserve to be explored as we search the great mystery of a Holy Church whose members do not always act in the holiest manner.

I invite all of you to buy the book, pray for Bill and his family and tune into the show if and when it airs.

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