This is not a eulogy about Tim Russert. I did not know him personally, so I do not come here to eulogize him. I come here as a person who makes comments about Catholic life for the Internet Catholic Life Style Magazine, "ParishWorld.net".
Tim died suddenly, at work, on Friday, June 13, 2008. He was the moderator of the television show, "Meet the Press" for more than 20 years. It appears in Sunday morning, so many of us never get to see it. I, for one, used to "catch it" occasionally in replay later in the evening. It was always interesting, but not always worth my staying up late after a busy Sunday of RCIA and other Church oriented efforts.
The reason why I am taking some time to write this is because it is rather uncommon, if not rare, to see a public person such as this referred to as "Tim Russert, a devout Catholic" time after time by those making comments about his life. So many practitioners of journalism came before the television screen and said something like, "Tim and I were Irish Catholics..." I am writing this because this is one of those times when Catholics get their moment on the sun. The person who has just died has shown us what it means to be a "devout" Catholic. The virtuous and righteous life that this man led was an example of holiness for all those around him and it did have an impact. It was so powerful that even they who would not normally confess their faith in public now do so with pride. This is evagelization in the prophetic mode. We too must go forth and do the same.
I leave you with a quote from one Irish Catholic, ex-Senator Patrick Moynihan to Tim Russert when Russert had just begun working for Moynihan, "Don't be impressed about their education. What they know, you can learn. What you know they can't learn." Let's keep that in mind as we live our lives in the world.
I have been following the on-going covereage about Tim's untimely death and I have to confess that I have never before heard public people testify to their personal faith to the extent that I have experienced over the last two days. Reporters have testified to their Judaism, Anglicanism, Catholicism, Lutheranism and said that Tim's witness to his Catholicism was an important element in teaching them the importance of religion in their own lives.
This is a person who has had and will no doubt continue to have an impact on our lives. Don't cry for him...and for sure, don't cry at my funeral.