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Jubilarians feted at Mass

By JOANNE FOX, Globe editor
(Email Joanne)

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.
“In a way, it’s a moment of grace, as disillusion comes next,” he said.

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.
“We were sent out to minister by a loving God,” he said. “That is the joy – knowing God who calls us.”

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 ceremony was a time to rejoice and Bishop Nickless noted, “I do that with you.”

“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

65 years
Father Raymond P. Wieling
Father Gerald Zenzen
+ Father Harold V. Cooper
+ Father John G. Eagan
+ Father Robert L. Keefe
+ Msgr. Gerald F. Lyon
+ Father R. William Phillips
+ Father John J. Terpstra

60 years
Msgr. Thomas M. Donahoe
Father Robert M. Fangman
Msgr. Mervin J. Hood
Father Dale F. Koster
Father Richard J. Macke
+ Father C. John Brennan
+ Father Paul J. Bruening
+ Msgr. Lawrence J. Hoffmann
+ Msgr. James K. Lafferty
+ Father Alfred E. McCoy
+ Msgr. Thomas C. Nash
+ Father Patrick J. Waite

50 years

Father Paul-Louis Arts
Father Robert P. Brown
Father Laurence J. Burns
Father Robert W. Gralapp
Father Francis E. Higgins
Father Merle F. Kollasch
Father James C. McAlpin
+ Father Robert J. McClintock

25 years
Father Armand J. Bertrand
Father Michael J. Erpelding
+ Father Steven M. Robich

Three celebrating jubilees

In the last edition of The Catholic Globe, three priests were inadvertently left out of the listing of priest jubilarians.

60th anniversary
Msgr. Mervin J. Hood, a native of Fort Dodge, attended Loras College in Dubuque and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Md. He was awarded a master of science in education from Creighton University in Omaha.
Msgr. Hood was ordained on May 5, 1954, by Bishop Joseph Mueller at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
In the Diocese of Sioux City, he served at St. Joseph Parish, Le Mars; Emmetsburg Catholic High School, Emmetsburg; Sacred Heart Parish, Ruthven; Sacred Heart Parish, Ledyard; St. John the Baptist Parish, Bancroft; St. Mary Parish, Alton; St. Mary Parish, Humboldt; Sacred Heart Parish, Livermore and Holy Spirit Parish, Carroll. He also served as dean of the Southeast Deanery. Next, he served as executive director at Marian Home in Fort Dodge. His last assignment was as pastor of Sacred Heart in Early and dean of the Central Deanery. He retired in 1998.

50th anniversaries
Father Francis E. Higgins, a native of Fonda, was educated at Loras College and Mount St. Bernard Seminary Dubuque. He also earned a master’s in education from Creighton University, Omaha.
He was ordained on Dec. 19, 1964 at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
Through the years, Father Higgins served at St. John the Baptist Parish and High School, Bancroft; Cathedral of the Epiphany, Sioux City; Bishop Heelan High School, Sioux City and Kuemper High School, Carroll before serving outside the diocese from 1973 to 1997 as a chaplain for the U.S. Air Force. He then returned to ministry in the diocese, serving at St. Joseph Parish, Schaller and St. Louis Parish, Royal before again serving outside the parish as a chaplain for the Air Force as well as for the federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.

Father James C. McAlpin, a native of Fort Dodge, was educated at Loras College and Mount St. Bernard Seminary, Dubuque.
He was ordained on May 30, 1964 at Cathedral of the Epiphany in Sioux City.
Father McAlpin served at St. Cecelia Parish, Algona; St. Mary Parish, Storm Lake; St. Lawrence Parish, Carroll; St. Benedict Parish, Kossuth County; Sacred Heart Parish, Fort Dodge; Sacred Heart Parish, Boone; St. Patrick Parish, Sheldon; Sacred Heart Parish, Manning; St. Bernard Parish, Breda; Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mt. Carmel and St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Maple River. He also served on the diocese’s College of Consultors. He retired in 2008.

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