On Sept. 4th, our beloved Bishop Joseph F. Maguire will celebrate his 91st birthday!

On Sunday, Sept. 5th, “Chalice of Salvation” will air an interview that was conducted with Bishop Maguire in 2009, when he turned 90. Tune in at 10 a.m. on WWLP-TV22.

Chalice of Salvation with Brother Terrence

Our good Bishop Emeritus is known for many things.  He was a standout athlete at Boston College and is even in their Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Boston Pilot noted, in an article last year that:

“His college career was marked by academic and athletic excellence. He was a great student and a star on the Eagles’ baseball and hockey teams. The latter team was coached by the legendary John ‘Snooks’ Kelley who once touted that ‘lots of college coaches coached players who went on to the pros, starred in the NHL … I’m the only one who ever coached a bishop!’ He remains one of the best known, highly respected and greatly loved alumni of Boston College and was given an honorary doctorate at the BC Commencement in 1976.”

Yes, the people in the eastern part of the state love “our” Bishop Maguire, too.

In my more than 26 years as a reporter for Catholic Communications, I have met so many people who break into a smile when they hear Bishop Maguire’s name.  Many have a good story to tell about his kindness or sense of humor. Others talk about his incredible memory for names.

Personally, I admire the great devotion and affection he  has for his sister, Grace Waystack, and her family.

Bishop Maguire and his beautiful sister, Grace.

I also admire his love for children. It just shines through when he is around little ones.

A smiling bishop at Blessed Sacrament School in Holyoke. (Observer file photo)

Bishop Maguire handing out Easter candy. (Observer File photo)

 I also appreciate the genius he showed when he wrote his pastoral letter about keeping Advent a sacred time in preparation for Christmas.

I have been blessed to have the opportunity to interview Bishop Maguire several times.

He has always been gracious and kind and a true gentleman.

One of my favorite memories of Bishop Maguire was when I was walking from our Elliot Street offices to downtown Springfield. I was taking my children to Johnson’s Bookstore on Main Street.

A car slowed down on Edward Street and pulled next us. At first I was a little scare and then saw it was Bishop Maguire and Joe Boudreau, his driver. They chatted with us and then Bishop handed each of my three children a few dollars to get a treat at the bookstore. My kids were thrilled. Even at their young age, they no longer had grandfathers so this kind act was “grandfatherly” and very much appreciated.

The grateful Weber children

To this day, my “kids,” who are now 22, 26 and 28, remember that sweet moment.

I am sure many of you have a great Bishop Maguire story. Feel free to e-mail it to me at p.weber@diospringfield.org (with or without a jpeg picture) and we will try and post it.  

It certainly is one great way to celebrate a great man’s birthday!!

Now if only the Red Sox could start winning for him!!!!

Remember when?