Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 17, 2006
Bednar had down-home charm
Priest was always present to the one he was with
By BILL GLEN
"He was down to earth and he always used practical references."
- Sandy Riddett
"I remember his humility. He was very pastoral - a kind and gentle soul," Riddett said. "He and my husband talked about farming. He was very much an Alberta boy."
Bednar came to dinner at the Riddett home on occasion. He enjoyed carrying on the old-time tradition of spending time with parishioners in their homes.
Bednar always started his homilies in a surprising way, Riddett said.
"He had a camera at the pulpit and he would take a picture to get our attention. He talked about capturing that moment in time. Later he quizzed us asking 'What was the First Reading?' He would look around expecting an answer. He expected us to speak from the pews. It was a good way to teach."
The congregation knew Bednar was a well-educated man and respected him because he never spoke down to them.
"He was down to earth and he always used practical references. He was very human in that sense," she said.
Riddett was always struck by how Bednar could talk to every person, whether they were young children or elderly.
"He was very easy to talk to. He was completely open."
Bednar loved to fish year round. He enjoyed reading, playing cards and board games. He loved the outdoors, whether going on long hikes or walking through the neighbourhood to church every day.
Bednar retired in 2001 for health reasons.
Joanne Klone said Bednar was a practical man who understood that life was real - warts and all.
"I think he was a living example of Christ on earth," said Klone, pastoral assistant at St. Michael's Parish in Leduc. "He made himself completely present to the people he served."
Bednar made it his priority to nurture friendships with his parishioners in both the good and bad times, Klone said.
During his walks to church, if Bednar saw a parishioner outside, he would stop for a chat on the stoop. He loved to be around people, no matter who they were, she said.
"And he never shied away from the bad. He had a way to let you know he believed in you 100 per cent. He had an amazing gift to see beyond our limitations and focus on our fine qualities."
Klone called Bednar "a personal friend." He celebrated her wedding and baptized her youngest child six months ago.
"I knew he loved me because he used to tell me so. But I could tell by his actions," Klone said. "I think that is the greatest gift he could give to any one person. His love was one thing I never doubted."
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.