Last month, Deacon Steve Politte’s website, openmyeyeslord.net, hit the million mark with either new or returning visitors, and that was just the home page. One of the site’s videos, “Ultimate Freedom,” has had more than 12 million hits. It is “probably the video that got our website going.”
Deacon Politte, who is disabled and no longer able to serve at the altar, created a ministry to spread the Gospel and other good news via the Internet. The outreach also created a prayerful community of people around the world.
“We are just everyday ordinary people learning how to love God by loving each other, and by reaching out to each other and praying for each other,” he told Our Sunday Visitor. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Deacon Politte and his brother, Glenn, were ordained permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of St. Louis in 1989. A few years later, their brother, Jerry, was ordained, too.
Deacon Politte, 63, suffered a serious back injury in 1988. He was able to work in a parish from 1993 to 1998, but the injury deteriorated to arthritis of the spine. That and other health issues forced him to limit his work to sporadic volunteering. In 2007, he started to put his homilies on the website of St. Joachim Parish in Old Mines, Mo., where he lives.
“But I just felt like God wanted me to do more,” he said.
That wasn’t easy when he didn’t even know what PowerPoint was. His wife, Joyce, who is the principal and director of religious education at St. Joachim School, was computer literate and got him going in the right direction. He discovered photo, image, graphics and music services and sources, as well as a Web host and an Internet community of poets who were eager to share their writing.
Since 2007, Deacon Politte has created more than 700 videos with Christian, spiritual, motivational, nature or patriotic themes presented with music, poetry, narrative prose, photos and art.
The videos celebrate blessings, offer courage through tough times, teach lessons and provide inspiration and food for thought. Deacon Politte writes many of them. In “Life On A Train,” he compares a journey by rail to life’s journeys with stops, arrivals, departures and derailments. “Seasons of My Heart” looks kindly at life’s ongoing and not always good experiences.
Chee Chee Martin of Florence, Ala., helps to create some of the slide shows, and she also has her own. “It’s Not The End” is a tribute to a life ended too soon. In “Follow the Light,” Christ dispels the darkness.
Other verses, poems and stories are written by people whom Deacon Politte meets over the Internet. B.J. Morbitzer, who lives near Chillicothe, Ohio, came aboard when Deacon Politte used one of Morbitzer’s stories and attributed it to an unknown source.
“He got in touch with me through email and said that he saw ‘The Seasons of Life’ video, and he loved it,” Deacon Politte said. “But he told me that it was his material.”
The website appeals to people of all denominations, even non-Christians.
“But I am Catholic, and people know that,” Deacon Politte said about his homilies and the videos’ many Catholic symbols. “That doesn’t matter to the viewers who are not Catholic. They are being fed by God’s love and Jesus’ love. I just give them the Catholic version.”
Deacon Politte says that he has been blessed with the website. “We are all supposed to use our talents and gifts for each other,” he said. “But I look at this website as God is doing it all. It’s amazing. Whatever happens is up to God.”
Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller writes from Pennsylvania.