Tonight I had the privilege of picking up Father Thomas Rosica, CSB from the airport.   For many reasons, Father Rosica is one of my personal heroes.  Here is a man who truly is a John Paul II priest– someone who loves the youth and calls them to something higher– because he knows their capacity for greatness.  Here is a man who transformed a university’s Newman Center and was then appointed to head the entire 2002 World Youth Day and Papal Visit to Canada.  Here is a man who, through the grace of God and a stubborn Italian man, agreed to become CEO of a Canadian Catholic Television Network, Salt+Light, a network that has brought the Church, the Pope, and the saints into average homes and made the Church accessible to everyone.  Here is a man who has been appointed by the Holy Father to work at the 2008 Synod of Bishops– and as a result of his work, set the American Church alive with excitement of the Synod.  Here is a man appointed by the Holy Father as consultor to the Pontifical Council of Social Communications.

Here is a man who has eaten breakfast with John Paul II.  Who shares inside jokes with Pope Benedict.  Who just had an exclusive interview with Bishop Fellay (a man who has only granted one other interivew in his entire life) and who just emailed the Vatican this afternoon about said interview.

Who has helped water the seeds, planted by John Paul II, that are blooming into the new Springtime of the Church.

This was the man I picked up at the airport.

While I stood with my mom and waited for him to arrive, there was a slight commotion about three feet to my left.  I watched as people surrounded a short African-American man, putting their arms around him to take pictures with him and impeding his walk to the exit.  Clearly annoyed with being held up, he stood still for “just one more” picture, then went on his way with his entourage.

After years of saying, “I just want to see someone famous.  Randomly.  Like in an airport” … after months of living in Nashville and complaining that I still haven’t seen that famous person, despite living a few miles away from Al Gore and Nicole Kidman, here was my chance.  I saw a famous person.

I just didn’t know who he was.

I finally asked the airport workers who were standing there next to me, who had witnessed the event as well.  Why, that was Randy Jackson.  The American Idol judge.

Hm.  Here was a man being fawned over by random people in the airport.  Here was a man who is known by the average American for his work [sic] sitting behind a table and critiquing people’s vocal skills.  Here was a man who seemed to care less about the strangers who rushed to get close to him.  Here was fame.

When my mom thanked Father Rosica for coming, he said, “I wouldn’t let her down.”

Me.  Little me.  And you know what?  He proceeded to talk to me this evening and actually cared about me.

Here may not have been “fame,” but I’ll tell you what– the man with whom I walked out of the airport is making a difference in the world.  Far more than any American Idol judge.