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Real ‘influence’ in life happens close to home

TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world makes for interesting, if not frustrating, reading. Several questions drive that frustration. Who are some of these people? How do they influence my life? And couldn’t TIME do any better than this?

Granted, the list includes some people I’d consider among the most influential – in a general sense and in a specific area; people such as Pope Francis, some world and national leaders, even some athletes and people from the arts. But there are many whose selection could be challenged for a variety of reasons.

The "100" listing – which, by the way, includes 142 people – also prompts another question. Who are the most influential people in our lives? These people are "in our lives." They are people we know, come into contact with on a regular basis, and lead, guide or shape our lives in one way or another.

Our personal listing changes over the course of a lifetime, but right now – May 2016 – who is on your list? You might start with just five, but of course, applying the TIME rationale, that means we could have seven.

For younger folks, that listing probably includes a teacher or two, along with parents (possibly grandparents), and perhaps a coach (sports, fine arts or other) and a good friend. We can hope that list – anyone’s list – also would include a member of the clergy or some person connected to the faith.

For others, the listing also might include a close friend or two, parents again (but from a different perspective), perhaps an employer, co-worker or professional peer, and – as we get a little older – our children. Even the parents no longer with us might continue to have a great deal of influence … through the work ethic they modeled, the faith they shared.

Those included on our personal lists probably will never make TIME’s list. But the influence of these people on each of us individually, and their combined influence, certainly is much greater than those on any published list.

TIME’s list might prompt some discussion or debate. Our personal lists should prompt a prayer of thanks.



One person found on most lists – perhaps at all stages of life – would be "Mom" or a woman who serves as a "Mom."

We take time this weekend to honor "Moms" for the gift of life, for the guidance, for the support and for the love. But one day a year doesn’t seem quite enough for these special people in our lives.



Don’t trust anyone over 30.

That was one of the rallying cries for those growing up in the 1960s. Now, those of us of that generation have a somewhat different take on that popular adage. We see the value, the wisdom and the impact of the so-called "seniors," and that’s why the Catholic Voice includes "Senior Living" pages each month and expanded coverage in this issue.

While obvious in many aspects of life, that "senior impact" plays a key role in the life of the church. From the basics such as Mass attendance and prayer lives to parish and greater church involvement to financial support to the wisdom that comes with age, the impact of seniors shapes the church in many ways.

One of the Senior Living features in this issue (Pages 14-15) provides a simple, yet clear picture of how seniors make a difference … and why they deserve our respect and our thanks.


Deacon Randy Grosse is editor and general manager of the Catholic Voice. Contact him at

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