1997 April 27 – 5th Sun Easter (Bulletin Letters)
First Communion Class
This Sunday at the 10 a.m. Mass in Milo, our Second Grade Religious Ed. Class is receiving their First Communion. Congratulations to Zachery Bruce; son of Tammy and Brandon, Eric Cain; son of Margery and Mike, Taylor Coffman; daughter of Sheila and William, Matthew Farley ; son of Tom and Yvonne, Taylor Konrad, son of Tonya, Paul Ohnemus, son of Darrell and Lucas Putz, son of Albert and Sherry.
97 04 27
My First Communion Sunday
First Communion Sundays are very special Sundays for me. They remind me of my own First Communion day and how, on that day my life was changed forever.
I was a second grader at St. Anthony’s School on the south side of Des Moines. The year was 1958. My dad, George was teaching and coaching at Dowling H.S.
Back than, Dowling was an all boys school. Also, back than, the lay faculty at Dowling was getting half the pay that public school teachers were getting paid.
Yet my father loved his job. He loved the teaching and the coaching. Despite the cut in pay, he believed it a privilege and honor to be working for a Catholic High School. When my dad started teaching at Dowling there were only three lay faculty. The rest were priest and sisters. Maybe, that is why he embraced his job like it was a religious vocation. His love and enthusiasm for his work was very apparent..
Well, when I woke up the morning of my First Communion Day, our house was filled with lots of people, most of them relatives from the neighborhood.
I was brought up in a neighborhood in which there were seven households of 2nd and 3rd cousins within a one block radius. It was one big extended family. It was a great neighborhood to grow up in. We lived more like a tribe than in separate family unites.
That morning, the whole tribe was in our house. And so were these guys in white uniforms. They were the ones taking my dad out of our house on a stretcher. Soon he was in an ambulance and on his way to Mercy Hospital. He had suffered a serious heart attack.
By the time I needed to go to Church for my First Communion Mass, most of my family was with my dad at the hospital. I was taken to Church by a couple of aunts and cousins.
I remember how worried and scared I was about my dad. I did not know whether he was going to live or die. I remember my prayer that day, it was simple and direct, “Dear God Let My Dad Live!”
Dad survived that heart attack. He had to change a lot of things in his life. He quit smoking. He had to go on a low fat diet. No more sausage and meat ball sandwiches. And he had to limit his physical exercise. This was the hardest thing of all to give up. He was 37 at the time and very athletic. He had five sons, whom he hoped to be able to play ball.
Dad did get to return to Dowling to teach and coach. He had many winning seasons as a baseball coach. He latter become the schools first ‘non priest’ Athletic Director and helped lay the foundation for the long winning sports tradition at Dowling H.S.
When he finally did die of an heart attack ten years latter it was, on Easter Sunday morning in my Senior year at Dowling. He was loved and admired by all who knew him. Thousands came to pay their respect at his wake and funeral Mass.
Us boys never complained about dad not being able to play ball with us, like other fathers did. We figured we were just lucky to have him with us and alive.
We came to see each day we had with him as God’s special gift to our family.
And I never forgot how God answered my special First Communion Day prayer.
This years goal for Holy Trinity of S.E. Warren Co. is $11.001.
Rosemount’s share is $3,428.
Milo’s share is $4062.
Lacona’s share is $3,511.
I want to apologize for getting this years Diocesan Appeal information out so late to our parish finance people. The box with the information from the Chancery arrive two weeks ago and I rediscovered it last Saturday afternoon in the first floor office. Lucky, we have an extra week to prepare because we are doing our parish Diocesan Appeal Sunday May 3 & 4 instead of this weekend, like the rest of the diocese because of First Communion.
$11,001 is a lot of money for a little parish like ours. Some might say its too much given what we receive in return from the central offices in Des Moines. But one advantage that rural parishes have over larger city parishes in our diocesan appeal formula is the percentage of our Appeal monies that come back to the parish in the form of priest pension and medical insurance.
When looked upon this way, nearly one third of our diocesan appeal monies go to pay for my pension and medical insurance. The larger city parishes, even those with two priest don’t recoup nearly as much of their appeal monies as we do.