In the Spring of 2000, I got a call from Paul Ogden asking me if I was interested in a job at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Temple. I had just talked to the principal at a school in Tyler, and at first, I thought Dr. Ogden, who was Holy Trinity’s board president, was asking about the same job.
“No,” he said. “It’s Temple, down by Austin.”
Then, it dawned on me what he was talking about. I knew Temple only because I had stopped there for gasoline once on a trip between Austin and Dallas. It was “that place under the freeway.” I think I actually cringed when I thought about it.
I agreed to hear him out, though, despite my first experiences of Temple.
I met Father Charlie on Holy Thursday of 2000. He was sitting on the steps of the St. Luke’s Religious Education Building when I pulled up with my wife and–at the time–two sons. There were no students because school was out for Easter.
Father Charlie showed us around the building, taking us into each of the classrooms. He explained that Holy Trinity shared the building with the religious education program at St. Luke’s, so it was kind of a “pop-up” school. The students set up the big tables for the high school on Monday and Thursday mornings, and they set up the smaller tables for the little kids on Tuesday and Friday afternoons.
“Here is our library,” he told me proudly, as we walked into one classroom. It held five computers and a 1968 Britannica Encyclopedia set. As a candidate to be an English teacher, I almost wept.
Father Charlie acknowledged that the school was small and young. Holy Trinity was in its third year then with thirty-six students in grades nine through eleven. But, he saw great things.
“If you come here,” he said, “you will be at the beginning of something truly great.”
As we wrapped up our visit, I asked Father to bless my family and me. We were on our way to Victoria to visit my family for the Easter holiday. The blessing went on for a while. If you knew Father Charlie, you know what I’m talking about. He could talk!
But, he was talking to God, genuinely, for us. He prayed not that we would definitely choose Holy Trinity, but that we would listen to God’s plan for us and that we would choose Holy Trinity if that was God’s plan.
Four days later on Easter Monday, my family and I were in Tyler. My family spent the day in the hotel and wandering around town, while I went on an interview and tour of T.K. Gorman Catholic High School. While Holy Trinity was going into its fourth year, Gorman had just celebrated its fortieth anniversary a few years before. Gorman had more than forty teachers and a huge campus with two gyms, a football field, and a nice library.
I was happy to receive an offer at both high schools and had a difficult choice to make. A friend of mine told me that if I went to Gorman, I would touch the lives of several students, but if I went to Holy Trinity, I would touch the life of every student who entered the building. Whenever I think about that, I have to remind myself that it wasn’t Father Charlie who told me that because it sounds just like something he would say. I’m convinced that it was the Holy Spirit speaking through my friend at the request of Father Charlie.
It was hard turning down the job at Gorman. It would have been an easier job. But, there’s no doubt in my mind that Father Charlie was God’s messenger telling me this is the right place.
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The joyful witness of Fr. Charlie is one that we need to preserve so that he can continue to touch the lives of our students like he did during his lifetime. If you have photos or fond memories of Fr. Charlie, please feel free to share them with us by contacting Alyssa Snyder at firstname.lastname@example.org or Isabelle Brogan at email@example.com. Please limit written memories or stories to 400-500 words a piece.
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About the Author
Chris Mosmeyer has been a member of the Holy Trinity family for 18 years. He has taught English, Speech, Journalism, World Geography, and Drama as well as coaching the Forensics, Speech, and Debate team. He served as Holy Trinity’s principal from 2010-2012 and is also the proud father of two Holy Trinity alumni and one current Holy Trinity student.