Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
January 18, 2010
Oblate's kindness planted a seed
FR. JOHN NEMANIC
A young girl recently approached me with a big smile on her face telling me she had just celebrated her ninth birthday.
After wishing her happy birthday, I remembered that I was once nine years old. It was 1985 and my father died suddenly in a fall at home. In the midst of the deep sadness and the revolving door of mourners at our home, I still remember Father Kasper Klein visiting us after he got the news. He also celebrated Dad's funeral Mass.
Soon after, I became an altar server at St. Mary's Parish in Regina. Before I served Father Klein's Masses, he would often approach me and ask, "How are you doing?" followed by "How is your mother doing?"
I was impressed by his concern as he had many other parishioners to be concerned about. Yet he took an interest in me and reassured a little boy without a father that a different father cared for him.
I remember another occasion of Father Klein's charity. The altar servers at St. Mary's served not only on Sundays, but also at weekday morning Masses, including Saturday. It was convenient to serve because Mass would finish before school started and there was a financial incentive.
When we returned to the sacristy after the Saturday morning Mass Father Klein would give each server $5 for helping during the week, which was more than I got for an allowance. I went right out and bought baseball cards and played video games. The $5 is long gone, but I still remember his generosity.
Despite the monetary gain, I also enjoyed serving Mass because I could be active in the liturgy. I was impressed by the way Father Klein and the other Oblate priests celebrated Mass.
Seeing their example up close I realized something very special happened in the Eucharist, even if I could not explain it. It was around the altar of the Lord that Jesus planted the first vocational seeds in me.
REPAYING THE DEBT
Father Klein died in January 2008, a few months before my priestly ordination. The great irony of my priesthood is that I could repay him for his kindness and example despite his death.
His sister lives at a seniors' residence within the parish boundaries and I celebrate Mass there once a month.
I recently visited her when she was in the hospital and gave her the Sacrament of the Sick. I told her that it was a joy to anoint her both because it would give her spiritual consolation and it was my way of honouring her brother who looked after me when I needed the help.
I thank God for Father Klein's simple priestly way in making a difference in my life. Rest in peace good and faithful servant.
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