Catherine will get baptized tomorrow morning. I am so happy for her and so excited to officially welcome her into the Christian family. I am proud to bring her into the Catholic Church and am honored that God has gifted me with a faith that has inspired me to desire baptism for my daughters. I cherish my family - its traditions, history, members, flaws, shortcomings, love, humor, joy - both in a human and faith based sense.
I love being a Zelenka. I love being a Catholic. I love being a part of these families and all of their respective traditions, history, members, flaws, shortcomings, love, humor, joy.
My last name means "little green" in Slovak. Some of my grandfather's siblings, in immigrating from Slovakia, decided to spell their name "Za" instead of "Ze". As a certified Language Arts instructor, I embrace being unphonetic; English is such a beautifully complicated language. I revel in the fact that instead of potentially being called Junior, my dad decided to name me Michael Robert instead of after him as Robert Michael. It means so much to me to bear his name yet still have one of my own. My sister was named after my grandmothers, my brother after my grandfathers. I am humbled that my wife and my two daughters share my last name. I love that, for now, it is our last name. I love being a Zelenka.
Similarly, I love that my parents not only instilled in me a sense of family but also a sense of the importance of my faith. As I strive to more dutifully live out the tenants of the faith in which I profess every weekend to believe, I take very seriously my various roles within the Catholic Church. As a Catholic man, I hope to imitate the manhood of Christ - meek yet strong, firm yet understanding, patient yet passionate, selfless to the point of death.
As a Catholic husband, I so desperately desire a strong marriage. I am incredibly blessed to have married my best friend. I thank God every day for the gift of Emily and every day I hope that I adequately convey how grateful I am for her love, support, humor, and companionship. I love her so much.
As a Catholic father, I want my children to recognize the gift of faith. I want to present to them, as my parents did for me, the importance of a life of faith and then I want to get out of the way. I pray that I will be wise enough to know how and when to allow God to use me as His instrument and when to let Him speak directly to their hearts. I pray that I am worthy to be called the name we also use to address Jesus - father. It means so much to me to bear His name albeit in such a drastically inferior sense.
Lastly, I feel that my role as a Catholic educator allows me to combine both what I do and who I am. I would hope that even in the secular world I would still have the conviction to live out my faith. I fully appreciate, though, that my opportunities to do so would be so different in number, degree and kind. I hope and pray that I am further establishing God's kingdom here on earth. I hope and pray that the school I lead is above all else truly Catholic.
I love being a Zelenka. I love being a Catholic. I love that tomorrow I will welcome a member of my family into my family. I will welcome my daughter, who bears the last name of my father, into the Catholic Church in the name of our Father.
May God bless you, Catherine Rose, and welcome, once again, to the family.