Amidst chaotic world, Mr. Skerl brings message of hope.

by John Selby ’15

This is my first issue of The Eye as Editor-in-Chief. I’m very humbled with the honor of this position and am grateful that I have the opportunity to write an editorial in this column.

Instead of writing an introduction about myself, I would like to offer a couple of words about one of the most loved men in the Ignatius community: Mr. Jim Skerl ’74.

With all of the terror and despair occurring in the world with things such as the presence of the extremist terrorist group ISIS in the Middle East, it can be hard to see what can trump these evils. However, hope exists and will always exist.

There’s a famous line in the movie The Shawshank Redemption that goes “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies,” and when I attended the Friday morning mass in order to pray for Mr. Skerl, I felt the very heart of this message.

Looking around and seeing all of those people that one man has impacted in some way was eye-opening, and when Fr. Welsh noted the harsh reality that we might lose this man, it was hard to believe – not because it was just one of those statements that made one’s heart ache, but because if there is one thing Mr. Skerl has shown us all, it is that through prayer and our relationship with Jesus, there is hope.

My first experience with Mr. Skerl was at a CAT meeting sophomore year. I was unsure how CAT worked, but a senior friend encouraged me to attend a meeting. However, I really just went through the motions and honestly didn’t get much out of it. It wasn’t until this year that I realized the effect Mr. Skerl can have on a person.

During the CAT Service Leadership day this year, we went to Fr. Jim O’Donnell’s, a good friend of Mr. Skerl’s, house. I was a little nervous because it was mentioned that we would be washing each other’s feet just as Jesus did with the apostles during the Last Supper.

Well, we did. And though it was uncomfortable to be holding a friend’s foot, it turned out to be a very humbling experience.

At the next CAT meeting, Mr. Skerl could not be present due to a procedure he had to undergo to fight his horrendous cancer.

Mr. Swami, one of the Alumni Volunteers, shared that during the CAT Service Leadership Day he was brought to tears because Mr. Skerl, though weak and probably exhausted, got on the ground and washed his feet.

I decided to go on Labre for the first time after that. Every single person I met during this new experience asked “How’s Jim doing?” It’s a small question, but a profound one. It showed just how much people care about Mr. Skerl.

Although he probably wouldn’t like that I’m writing about him in this form, he’s loved for good reason.

Even if you’ve never met him, you’ve been impacted by him in some way because the love he shows is contagious and the hope he brings is eternal.