Jubilarians feted at Mass
By JOANNE FOX, Globe editor
At the jubilee Mass for priests of the Diocese of Sioux City, Father Merle Kollasch drew several parallels between the sacraments of Holy Orders and Marriage.
“We can apply three phases of marriage to the ministerial priesthood,” he said. “Romantic. Disillusion. Great joy.”
Father Kollasch, a 50-year jubilarian, delivered the sermon at the Priestly Jubilee Mass May 5 at St. Boniface Church, Sioux City.
Sixteen priests noted milestone anniversaries this year. Bishop Walker Nickless presided at the Mass and the jubilarians concelebrated.
Father Kollasch further explained each of the three phases in relationship to the priesthood.
“The romantic phase is just as the one in marriage,” he said. “You are idealistic. There is joy, enthusiasm and a feeling you can accomplish great things and make a difference.”
Those characteristics are at the heart of the priesthood, Father Kollasch felt.
“It’s a notion of ministry and service to the church,” he said.
That phase ends with the feeling, “It’s not what I thought it would be,” Father Kollasch pointed out.
Father Kollasch noted that when things suddenly are not going in the direction one hopes, other choices may surface.
“We hurt so we may hurt others and that’s life, so we roll with the punches,” he said. “At this point, we can either become discouraged or experience a personal conversion.”
Focusing on bringing about God’s kingdom at this point will bring an interior change, Father Kollasch explained.
“When one’s faith and one’s life are separate, our very essence is shallow,” he said.
Father Kollasch referenced the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, formerly of Chicago, who provided a series of simple approaches for seeking reconciliation with a feeling of disillusion.
“Slow to judge, quick to forgive,” he cited. “Respond with kindness and compassion and take time for reflection and prayer.”
Now might be the time to surrender to God’s will and to face this phase with trust in God, Father Kollasch suggested.
“Maybe the key to this experience is we are lost in darkness and need to be refreshed in God’s love,” he said. “That would bring about transformation, but that demands prayer and interaction with not only those who support us, but those who challenge us.”
Father Kollasch reminded the priests that at the time of their ordination, they were called forth in love.
As in marriage, these phases are not always straightforward, Father Kollasch acknowledged.
“They can spiral in and out,” he said.
But on a day of celebration for the jubilarians, the joy is there and Father Kollasch concluded his sermon by “thanking the Lord for each other.”
Bishop Nickless also expressed his thanks for the blessing of the priesthood on those noting anniversaries.
“You have all known the grace of ordination,” he said. “I think there is no greater life, so it’s good to reflect.”
“The diocese continues to be blessed by your ministry,” he added. “Thank you for your priestly witness for all of these years.”
Bishop Nickless referenced the final line in the prayer aide for the service that Father Brent Lingle of the diocesan office of worship added, “That in all things, God be glorified.”
“That statement by St. Benedict truly sums up all for the jubilarians,” he said.
The bishop thanked the laity who gathered to celebrate with the priests. He also thanked Father Michael Erpelding for hosting the Mass at St. Boniface Church and the choirs from St. Boniface, St. Joseph and Immaculate Conception Parishes for their musical talents.
Priests marking anniversaries
Father Paul-Louis Arts
Three celebrating jubilees
In the last edition of The Catholic Globe, three priests were inadvertently left out of the listing of priest jubilarians.
Father James C. McAlpin, a native of Fort Dodge, was educated at Loras College and Mount St. Bernard Seminary, Dubuque.
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