As my readers know, I am seldom at a loss for words. But for days, I have struggled to find a way to express the deep sorrow I feel that my teacher and mentor, Doctor Michael Pennock, has died.
"Doc" Pennock is a legend at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Over the course of a long teaching career, he influenced and shaped the lives of countless numbers of students. Nor was his reach limited to his immediate students. Doc was a best-selling author of religious textbooks that have been used throughout the country for decades.
So what do I say about the man who helped me through a terribly dark period in my own faith life? How do you encapsulate the life of a man who relished telling ornery junior and senior boys that his great loves in life were "pizza, golf, my wife, and sex with my wife"? How you bid adieu to a man who, through word and deed, showed you what it meant to be a Christian? How do you thank a man who taught you so much about love: not only what it was, not only what it meant to love another person, but also what it meant to receive it?
As a former student and one who admired him greatly, I will miss my old mentor. As a theologian, I will always look to him as a model, as one who ceaselessly pursued a relationship with Jesus Christ and who put all of his talents and gifts to the service of the Gospel as a teacher. As a teacher, I will emulate his gentleness, his humor, and his pastoral skill. And as a Christian, I will celebrate tomorrow that he stands now in the presence of the Heavenly Court in the presence of the God he loved and served throughout his life.
I ask for prayers for Doc's wife Carol and their family: Scott & Misty, Jennifer & Thomas, Amy & Jonathan, and Christopher.