Love and faith endure: Tom and Karen McCall
Tom McCall, a semi-retired CPA, is accustomed to working with numbers, and he and his wife, Karen, have accumulated some large numbers between them.
They have been married for 47 years, spending almost 30 of those years as parishioners at Holy Cross Church in The Colony.
Karen said, “You find in church good role models of people who have been married 50 years. I want to do that; I want to be there.”
Both educated in Catholic schools, their common faith has helped the couple’s relationship last through the years.
Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (On Love in the Family), addresses marital love that endures, writing, “If I expect too much, the other person will let me know, for he or she can neither play God nor serve all my needs. Love coexists with imperfection. It ‘bears all things’ and can hold its peace before the limitations of the loved one” (Amoris Laetitia, 113).
The McCalls shared with the North Texas Catholic some thoughts on a lifetime of faith and marriage.
LASTING LOVE: Tom said that the keys to a lasting marriage are patience and communication. “If you have patience with each other and you communicate well, you can just about kick anything.”
Karen joked, “I disagree. I think it was blind luck.”
While they enjoy attending professional hockey games together, many of their interests diverge. Tom explained, “We’re always on the same page, but in different books. And then sometimes it’s a different library.”
NURTURE AND GROW: Like a plant, their relationship has grown and changed with time. Karen said, “Every once in a while, you hit a brick wall and then you have to recount. You get to a certain age or you get to a certain illness and all of a sudden you are looking at each other saying, ‘That’s not gonna work anymore. We have to change.’”
She added, “You have to open up your eyes to what your partner needs, more than what you need. And to know how to say things, instead of arguing or snipping.”
OPEN COMMUNICATION: Tom said, “You have to have the strength to talk about the issues. To put the issues on the table and unvarnish them. Talk in an unvarnished way, and maybe it’s going to get a little dicey, but then once you’ve had the hard talk, you can smooth it out on the edges.”
PARISH PEOPLE: Serving the parish became more important after the birth of their two children. Karen said, “I realized I have to put my money where my mouth is, to show my kids that this is what I believe.”
Tom is known at the parish as the “Building Guy,” because he helps with maintenance and led the finance campaign for a $6.1 million expansion and renovation completed in 2019. A semi-retired CPA, he chairs the parish finance council, serves as a sacristan, and is a Knight of Columbus.
Karen sings in the choir, and in the past the couple has taught religious education and RCIA and served as sponsors for engaged couples.
She admitted that when they moved to Texas, “I was looking for a big parish where I would get lost. You can keep your head down and your mouth shut.”
Now, Tom laughed, “If there’s a need, we’re going to fill that need. That’s kind of been our gig.”
Karen explained, “You can’t be blessed and not give something back. You can’t have all those graces and not share them. It just doesn’t stop.”
GOSPEL TRUTH: Tom’s advice for new Catholics is to read the Gospel of Matthew, spending plenty of time with the Sermon on the Mount. Then read the Acts of the Apostles to see how the Apostles lived.
He said, “Take a look at how they reached up with the Holy Spirit and went out and did things that they had no idea they could do. We can all do that.”
He added, “I really feel wonderful to be part of the Church founded by Jesus Christ. Not by some preacher.”
GROWING IN FAITH: One year for Lent, a friend challenged Karen to listen only to Catholic radio. She reluctantly agreed. “Then I got hooked. For a lot of it, I knew those things in my heart, but I didn’t know how to explain it.”
Karen and Tom take advantage of an adult faith formation class at the parish along with Catholic resources in the media and online.
CATHOLIC CORE: Karen doesn’t hesitate when asked why she’s a Catholic. “The Eucharist. The community. The eternity of it. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.”
She continued, “No matter what you see on the news, and no matter how horrible it is, I came to the realization that it’s a war won by Christ. So, I can have worry, but I don’t have to be depressed, and I don’t have to give up, because it’s already done.”