It’s hard to believe, but tomorrow will mark the 30th anniversary of the death of my dad’s brother, Alexander Kozlowski. Uncle Al played such a big role in my life and that of my family, it’s seems incredible that he has been gone for three decades.
Actually, he did double duty. Uncle Al was not only my baptismal godfather (with my dad’s sister Catherine Sadusky as godmother), he was my sponsor for my confirmation. My parents chose my godparents, but I couldn’t have picked better ones. I chose my confirmation sponsor, but I could not have picked a better one.
A godfather/sponsor is supposed to help with a young person’s formation in faith. However, I don’t think Uncle Al ever taught me prayers or read me the Bible. He didn’t have to. He taught me faith by the way he lived. He, like my dad and aunt, had deeply devoted Catholic parents. Their uncle was a priest and an aunt a Felician Sister.
His vocation was as a husband to my Aunt Jane and the father to four sons, Alex, Bobby, Chris and Mark. It’s a testimony to his success as a father that the three sons who were not given his name took it as their confirmation name.
When my parents took my brothers, sister and me to church every Sunday morning, we could count on Uncle Al and his family being in a nearby pew. It was an unpreached sermon to his faith. I cannot recall him ever losing his temper and using God’s name in vain. It was an unspoken testimony of his faith.
Uncle Al was in a serious car accident, but his faith was strengthened, not shaken. During his final illness, he did not question God. The only tears I heard of him shedding were when he saw children also waiting for radiation treatments.
Now, 30 years later, Uncle Al and his example of faith are not forgotten. I pray that I am able to follow that example. If I do, I know I have a sponsor in heaven.
Our faith inspires others.