Would You Jump From a Plane?

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

Recently I read about a Catholic Bishop in England, Bishop Richard Moth, who skydived from a plane at 15,000 feet to raise money to take ailing pilgrims from his diocese to Lourdes. The Bishop’s jump was successful and he landed safely. The Bishops Conference of England and Wales had fun with the event and tweeted: “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Wait . . . it’s a bishop!”

Now, to be clear, I admire the Bishop’s courage and devotion, I really do, and his program was certainly worthwhile. He raised nearly $7,000 to assist the needy pilgrims. It strikes me, however, that there might have been other less risky, more conventional means to raise the needed funds – soliciting generous donors, special collections, and selling cookies come quickly to mind.

But the story led me to ponder: Are there any important causes for which I would jump out of a plane if I knew that it would guarantee their success? More vocations to the priesthood, to promote Catholic schools, funding for our “Keep the Heat On” program, the success of our Capital Campaign, for example. And my answer: Nope . . . Nope . . . Nope. . . and Nope!

Now all of these causes are very important and deserve our support but I just don’t think I’d have the courage to take that first step from the plane. I recognize too that there are some folks who would donate very generously to have me jump from a plane, without a parachute, but I’m not up for that either.

The fact is, we shouldn’t need miracles or eye-catching adventures to promote the works of the Church. Whether we talk about the missions, or vocations, or Catholic education, or collections for charity, or any other ministry, the secret to their success isn’t a secret at all. It’s the result of our faith and God’s grace. In everything we do, we need to work very hard, motivated by our faith, and then pray for God’s grace, remembering that apart from Jesus we can do nothing.

Finally, would I jump out of a plane to guarantee another Super Bowl win for the Steelers? Let me think about that . . . .

Something to think about: Is there any worthwhile cause for which you would jump out of a plane?