Like most Americans, I was saddened by the recent passing of the Rev. Billy Graham. Growing up, I often saw him on the news, pictured with presidents. Occasionally, I'd hear snippets from his "crusades" on the radio or TV. I remember that, one time, I was moved to tears when watching one of his crusades as the hymn "Just As I Am" was being sung during the altar-call.

Though Billy Graham was not a Catholic, I learned many things from his powerful Christian witness and preaching. As a Christian and a pastor, I learned at least 10 simple truths about him which have inspired me:

•  Clearly, his life was captivated by Christ and he centered his life on Christ. He put Christ first and gave Christ his best.

•  Clearly, he knew and bravely preached about the deadly nature of sin.

•  Clearly, he knew and preached that faith in Christ is the only secure way out of darkness into the light.

•  Clearly, he was awestruck by what Catholics call "the redemption:" Christ's death on the cross, freely undertaken, for the forgive¬≠ness of sin.

•  Clearly, he personally knew and preached about the incredible mercy and desire of God for sinners.

•  Clearly, he believed that all people possess the awesome power of choice and that each of us has a major part to play in our shaping our destiny.

•  Clearly, he loved the Word of God. He received nourishment, guidance and fortitude through an intense life of study of and meditation on the Scriptures.

•  Clearly, he modeled the life of a good husband and father, and he made his mission credible by honest and transparent financial accountability.

•  Clearly, he knew the importance of compelling, simple and direct preaching. His strong and inspired style moved hearts. He was always faithful to given truths of the Gospel.

•  Clearly, he looked forward to the life to come with great and joyful expectation.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the New York Archdiocese said that Graham's "faith and integrity invited countless thousands around the world into a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God for the ministry of Billy Graham."

I certainly can reiterate that. Filled with gratitude for this great man, I now ask the Lord to raise up many more men and women of similar faith and conviction.

(Father Morrette is pastor of St. Mary's parish in Glens Falls.)