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and you bad very little communication with the outside world, I remember saying to myself and I was standing in the front yard of the residence in Ihwang, under the pea-pod tree-----“lf, and when the war is over, I’m going to shout and sing and dance and jump for joy.” Yet when we got word of the armistice I did none of these things, and took the news with joy and elation, but not with the wild enthusiasm I previously thought it would bring to me.
Similar thoughts had come to me in complentating getting out of Red China. I said that when I got across the border, out of China, and into Hong King, I was going to hop and jump over that bridge, so that my feet would hardly touch the boards.
Yet, when I was crossing the bridge, my main concern was that the. money strapped to my leg did not fall off, and I entirely forgot to hop and skip.
One’s physical system takes time to adjust to different circumstances. For eamp1e, when you jet from one time zone into another, it takes your system time to adjust to the new time. I believe they call it “jet lag”.
And when you are in a constant state of tension and fear that something is going to come up to prevent or delay your escape from the hell of Communism, and you suddenly, in a few seconds, are out, it takes your system also time to adjust. You do not go instantaneous1y from severe tension to unallayed relaxation and joy.
Father Kelly, a Columbian priest, formerly of Kiengchangfu, whom I knew there, was working in Hong Kong with the United Relief Organization, and staying at the Maryknoll house there. Ho took me along with him, and the Maryknoll priests put me up for a week or so.
After arriving in Hong Kong I sent a cable to Paul Lloyd, the founder of the Vincentian Foreign Mission Society advising him of the fact, and also asking him to see if it would be o.k. for me to return to the States via Europe.


Paul shortly cabled back that it would be o.k. to return through Europe, and after a week or ten days spent in Hong Kong I took off for Europe via a Dutch airline, via India, Pakastan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Greece, Italy, etc. This was in 1950, which was in the days of the propeller planes, and also poor radio communications. So the planes flew only during the daytime hours, and the passengers were put up in a hotel in the evening wherever we happened to arrive. We would resume our flight the next A.M
We left Hong Kong in the early morning, and our first stop was at Bankok, where we refueled. By night we had arrived at Calcutta, India, where we were put up for the night in a hotel. We got to Calcutta sometime before dark, so we took a taxi and rode around the city sightseeing. Poverty, filth, cows, goats, beggars, and a general air of numbing lassitude prevailed. So my slight impression of India was not very favorable. The crowds of people one saw on the streets somewhat resembled China, but with this difference: in China everyone seemed to be doing something more or less, or at least they gave you the impression that they were going to do something. In India the crowds of people gave you the impression that they were not only not doing anything, and that they did not intend to do anything either.
In the hotel that night where we stayed, they had guards to see that the patrons were not harmed or robbed. Then they had guards to watch the guards, and guards to watch the guard who watch the guards who were supposed to watch us. The next morning we took off and. around noon landed at Bombay, where we had lunch and then off again. By night we arrived at Karachi, Pakastan, and we stayed there for the night. The next morning we took off and around noon arrived at Bahrain, on the Arabian peninsula. We made only a short stop to refuel, and



what I remember about it is the intense heat, and the fact that there must be practically no tides there, for the landing field was close to the coast line, and it seemed as though the airfield was only- a few feet higher than the waves of the ocean.
We arrived at Cairo, Egypt around 4:00 P. And after going to the hotel we immediately took a bus out to the pyramids. They surely are an imposing sight. And what surprised me was that while the faces of the pyramids might have been smooth at one time, through the many centuries since they were constructed the facing has deteriorated, and the faces of all the pyramids are similar to giant steps. I don’t know how large the stones of which they are constructed are, but from what is visible they must be something like 5 feet wide by 5 feet high, but how long you cannot see, for the next layer of stones are placed over the one before, and you cannot see how long it is. The sides are similar to giant steps, and it is possible to go to the top of the pyramids crawling up the stones on the face. It would be a difficult ascent, but possible.
Of course, there were the usual hawkers, etc., at this oft frequented place. A camel is available for hire, not so much for riding, as to pose on for a picture. Needless to say, just about everyone in our party had their picture taken on the camel.
I backed off to take a picture of the pyramid, and when I did so one of the many hawkers ran over in from so that he would appear on the picture. I did not mind this, as he added “color to the scene. However, he wanted ins to give him a tip for letting him take his picture, which, by the way, he did not get.
After coming back from the pyramids we rode through the streets of Cairo, which were very interesting. It seems that no matter where you go, whether it be in the Near East, or the Far East, the streets are invariably crowded, and at that time at least,, almost entirely of people on foot, with very few automobiles. At that time at least there were not many vehicles, but what there were were made up of animal drawn carts more than of autos.
That night in the hotel they had souvenir shops with many articles particularly of ivory, which found eager customers in us.


The next morning we took off and arrived in Athens, Greece, around noon. We did not remain long, end then took off for Rome, where we arrived early in the afternoon.
On the plane from Hong Kong there was a Dutch Franciscan, Father Seesink, and an Italian Josephite Father, Father Melotto, all ex- missionaries from China. Naturally we sort of went together everywhere on our sightseeing tours.
I had never been in Rome, but I had frequently heart stories of how “different” the Italian Vincentians in our house in Rome, were. As a result, since I planned on being in Rome about 10 days, I decided to get lodgings somewhere near where this Josephite friend was staying he knew Rome and offered to be our guide while there. I found a room in a private home near the Franciscan monastery, where my Franciscan friend was staying, and also near the Josephites. I would say Mass at the Franciscan church, and then the three of us would usually spend the day seeing Rome. If the other two had something else to do, then I would go out myself.
I enjoyed my stay in Rome very much, for it is a very interesting city. And being the head of Christendom, it has many, many churches and sights both interesting and important in the history of the church. All of the major basilicas are truly inspiring, but St, Peter’s, of course, leaves one almost speechless. Its size: 232 yards long, and 150 foot high, with its dome 138 feet in diameter, and 403 feet from its top to the floor of the church, with an area of over 18,000 square yes, It’s mosaics and paintings, the majesty of its architecture, etc., have to be seen to be believed.
This was 1950, the Holy Year, and I don’t know if there were more pilgrims than usua1 or not, but surely almost half of the persons one Saw were pilgrims.
One of the things I especially remember about Rome is our audience with Pope Pius XIII Father Melotto got us tickets for a semi-private audience with the Pope at Casto Gonodlfo, Since we three priests has just returned from China, we decided to wear our Chinese robes,


When we arrived at the palace and were ushered in, we three priests were placed at the very head of the line. This was a semipublic audience and so I was surprised that there were about 150 persons present. We were all arranged along the wall of a fairly large room, in single file, with the three of us at the very head of the line. This was done, we felt surer so that after the audience the Pope could talk to us privately about conditions in China, or even during the audience. We had reason to believe this for before the audience when we wore being arranged a monsignor asked us where we were from, etc.
After some wait we were told that “Papa’ was arriving and that we should kneel. This we did, and the Pope then came in a side door, just whore we were standing. He began going down the line, starting with us, and we all kissed his ring, but he did not say anything to us, so we remained silent also. When the Pope had gone down the line
about 20 feet or so, an ubiquitous Monsignor standing in the side door
through which the Pope had come motioned to u three to follow him. We arose and followed him, thinking that he was leading us to some private room where we would have a private audience with the Pope, and he would probably ask us about conditions in China. We followed this Monsignor through door after door, and wondered where we were being led. Finally, after going through about ten doors, we looked up, and much to our surprise found ourselves outside, and found that we were not being led to a private audience, but outside, and the door closed on us. Perhaps this is what they call “Vatican Diplomacy”
After about ten days in Rome I took a train to Genoa. Shortly before the Communists took over China, Bishop Quinn sent three of his theologians to Europe to complete their studies. He knew that when the Communists took over, the seminary would undoubtedly be closed, and the Seminarians sent borne, at the very least. So Peter Chi, who was a schoolboy in Ihwang when I went there, and a Fong and a Kao, who were the other two theologians were in Genoa completing their studies in the Vincentian Seminary there. I spent 3-4 days with them talking about old times, etc.


From Genoa I went to Lourdes by train. I stayed at Lourdes 3-4 days1 and was truly impressed, not only with Lourdes, but most of all by the faith and devotion of thousands and thousands of pilgrims. The processions both in the afternoon, but especially- in the evening, were truly inspiring.
In Lourdes I stayed at a sort of Priest’s Hotel, where I had a room, and there was a sort of common dining room. One day while I was sitting at table I heard someone down the line 6-7 persons talking in Latin saying that he was an American from the Western Province, Later I went down and introduced myself. The man was John Richardson, the brother of Jim, my classmate, but whom I bad never met.
From Lourdes I took a train to Paris. I went to the Mother House and stayed there. Coming from China the accommodations were o.k., but they were only a little better than China.
Father Slattery was the Superior General at the time, but he was away on a visitation and I did not get to see him.
While at the Mother House we had the usual Examine before meals. I was living on the third floor, and we used to go to the loft, or balcony of the chapel for the Examin. One day, looking across to the other side I saw someone that looked very familiar, but whom I could not place. He looked like Frank Battle but I knew that Frank had been thrown out of the Seminary,. and was not ordained, and also this person was too young to be Frank. Going down to the refectory I made it a point to reach this person and introduce myself. He was Jack Battle, Frank’s brother, whom I had never met.
An interesting happening occurred the next morning at breakfast. The French do not eat breakfast as such. Usually they drink a bowl of coffee and a slice or two of plain bread and that is all.  Jack Battle bad been ordained for some time, and at this time was on his way to Freiburg to get an advanced degree. At breakfast


this morning, Jack’s first, they were serving the usual coffee, which is brewed from some sort of green, and not entirely roasted bean, and into this they pour Milk and brown sugar. So the coffee
has already the milk and sugar that they like. I watched Jack look at this when the brother poured out a bowl of it for him. He asked me what in the world this stuff was and I said: “coffee”. Jack took one sip, and then made a face like be bad just bitten into a green persimmon, and he would take no more of it. From that day on at Jack’s insistence, and treat, we took breakfast at the BON MARCHE, where we could get somewhat decent coffee and a doughnut.
I was not very impressed with our Mother House, for it was old, dark, cold and not too clean. However, when I want to the Motherhouse of the Sisters of Charity, and saw the chapel where our Blessed Mother had appeared to St. Catherine Laboure, and the chair on which Our Blessed Mother sat, I was truly impressed.
In Rome there is a plentitude of statues, made from marble, wood, wax, etc., and so when a Sister showed me the tomb of St. Louise de Marillac and St. Catherine Laboure, under the two side altars of the chapel, they looked like many of the waxen figures that I had seen in Rome. On this first visit I met only a French Sister, and she knew
about as much English as I knew French. However, we got along, and I made arrangements to say Mass there in the chapel the next day.
The next day when I came I met an American Sister from the Eastern Province, and she gave me the ‘grand tour”.
This American Sister told me that the figure of St.. Catherine Laboure under the side altar was not a waxen figure, but her real body. Sister Catherine’s body baa remained incorrupt for a hundred years, and she looks as if she died but yesterday. Sister also told me that she has charge of the relic room, and there are many relics there of Vincentian saints and beati. With the exception of St. Catherine, all the other bones are dry and clearly show that they are old, but St. Catherine’s bones they removed only an arm for relics ------look alive and not a bit dry of powdery.


I don’t know if this interest in, and aroused devotion to, St. Catherine Laboure was an omen to future events connected with both her name and herself.
One day I took a train ride down to Lisieux to visit the birth place of the Little Flower. The Carmelite monastery there has preserved just about all of her memorabilia which Interested me very much, for I had always had a devotion to her. They were just then completing a magnificent basilica in honor of St. Theresa of Lisiux.
Paris as a city I liked very much. I think it is one of the most beautiful cities that I have ever seen, with its very wide boulevards, trees, buildings and way of life. I most certainly am not a fanatic in my love for the Frenchman, though individually I have met many Frenchmen whom I liked and admired.
After a week or so in Paris I flew to London, where I stayed at the Vincentian house  Strawberry Hill. One thing that I immediately noticed, and liked, was the fact that the people spoke English not always just like I spoke it, but at least understandable. The thing that impressed me about London most was its size.
After a few days in London I flew to Dublin. I stayed. at the Vincentian Parish of St. Peter. The tremendous number of people who attended daily Mass was a revelation, and filled me with admiration. Ireland was beautiful, but cold and damp and very disagreeable at the time I was there.
I visited various places around Dublin, and one of the places I want was to the Columbian Father’s Motherhouse at Tara. Father Dermody, who was the Superior General of the Columbians, at this time was there, and I visited with him, He had previously been in Kien-changfu, and I knew him there,
While in Ireland I also attended a Rugby match, between two of the major teams in Ireland. It resembled football slightly, but the players could run with the ball only a few steps before they had to get rid of it. Their dexterity with both their hands, and especially (( **  Missing Text ??  ** ))


From Dublin I took a bus to Shannon, but at this time of the year, October, it was not as green as I expected, and surely the waters of the Shannon weren’t any clearer than those of the Mississippi.
At Shannon I boarded a plane for the States around midnight, and in spite of the fact that this was still the era of tie propeller planes, but helped along by the fact that we were going west, and consequently gaining time, we arrived in Gander, Newfoundland, before daylight. Consequently I flew over the Atlantic Ocean end did not see it.
We arrived in New York City early in. the morning, and in spite of the fact that I had to wait 2-3 hours for the plane to Louie I arrived in St. Louis around 4-5 o’clock.
Having come from China, where a bicycle was just about the fastest means of transportation, the fact that I left Ireland at midnight and. by late afternoon of that same day I was in St. Louis, was a source of admiration to me.
Father Lloyd met me at the airport, and I don’t remember if it was for the occasion of my return or not, but I do remember that we went somewhere and had terribly good fried chicken for supper.
The next day or so Father Lloyd drove me to Perryville. This afforded me the opportunity to see both my mother end my father, something which, when I left in 1947, I did not expect would happen again. At that time I left for China in 1947 my Dad was over 80 years of age, and my mother 75. And so when I bade them farewell at that time I fully expected that it would be my final one for I did not think that I would be back in three years. “Man proposes, but God disposes.”
After a couple of weeks after my return to Perryville, Father William Brennan, Jr. who was an assistant at Assumption-St. Boniface Parish, left for a chaplaincy in the Army, and I was appointed to take his place.
at this time Father Hyrnel was pastor, and Fathers McKinley and Wesner, and now me, were the assistants and pastor of the parish.


At this time Bill Casey was pastor of Brewer, and he was in the process of building a new church, to replace the one destroyed by fire. I don’t know why, but somewhere around the summer of 1951, Bill apparently wanted to go to greener pastures, and I was appointed to take over Brewer. At this time the new church was already under roof, and there were not too many problems in finishing it.
At this time Brewer was a mission or Assumption-St. Boniface, and. though they owned a house in Brewer for a rectory, it was rented out, and the pastor lived in Perryville, where I remained an assistant to the parish in Perryville, and administrator Of Brewer.
This was a pleasant assignment, and I thoroughly enjoyed everything in, and connected with Brewer. The people were country people, whom I understood, being one myself.
Within a few mouths the church was completed, and in the summer Bishop Ritter came and blessed it.
In the month of June 1951 my mother suffered a stroke. She was paralyzed almost completely, but more on her left side than her right. She was also unable to talk, The doctor said that the hospital could do nothing more for her than take care of her, and since we could do that much at home, we thought she would feel better, and do better, in familiar surroundings rather than among strangers in the hospital. My sister Elma, two sister-in laws, Eunice and Hazel, took turns staying with her. Later on we hired a lady to relieve them. She hung on till October 20, 1951 when she died, at the age of 80.
On All Soul’s Day Mama was buried from the Assumption Church in Perryville, and buried in Mount Hope Cemetery there. I sang the Requiem High Mass, with Fathers Hynel and McKinley assisting. Father Hynel spoke.
Just previous to this all of the missionaries were expelled from China, and Bishop Charles Quinn, Tom Smith, Bob Kraft, etc.,


who had just arrived in St. Louis, came down the morning of the funeral, and Bishop Quinn was gracious enough to preside at the obsequies after the Mass.
And so my mother, one of the most humble of persons, who never looked for, or expected, honors or praise, received an honor that I would guess, had never been conferred upon any layperson in the more than hundred year history of the Assumption church of Perryville; a bishop presided at the final blessing of her body, a. lay person,
As an illustration of the way my mother thought, and how she thought she should act in the presence of a person she considered much above her, I am reminded of a happening that took place some ten or more years previously.
Bishop Quinn was home from China, and while visiting the Seminary at Perryville, paid a call on my parents. He did not inform them that he was coming, and just dropped in one day.
My mother was raised in a strict German fashion, which laid down rigid codes of what was to be done under certain circumstances. When Mother got up in the morning and dressed, the last article of clothing she always put on was an apron. She wore an apron from the time she got up till she went to bed. The only time when she was without an apron was when she “dressed up” to go to church, town, visiting, etc.
On this particular day when Bishop Quinn dropped in to see them Mama felt that the apron she had on was somewhat dirty, and that in the presence of a Bishop the very least she should be doing was to put on a clean apron. However, Bishop Quinn took a chair immediately in the doorway to her bedroom, and that made it impossible for her to get to her bedroom and put on a clean apron. As a result she felt so embarrassed at this----to her serious breech of politeness that she could not concentrate on the conversation. And while she felt honored by the visit of a Bishop to her home, she was at the same time embarrassed and humiliated for what she felt was an act of disrespect by not having on a clean apron for the occasion.


One day, probably around June, 1953, I was dumfounded to receive a letter from Father James Stakelum, 3.M., our Provincial, informing
me that a new parish was to be started in St. Louis County, and that I had been selected to be the founding-pastor of the to-be St. Catherine
Laboure Parish, in Sap1ington, Missouri. This was an assignment and a job thoroughly unexpected or Unlooked for, and. it filled me with trepidation. It is true that I
had been ordained 21 years at this time, and while I had spent all of these years in. parish work in China I bad only about two and a
half years of experience of work in the States. And to start a parish from scratch was something else! I wrote to Father Stakelum asking him to change the appointment, for I felt that I was not neither capable, or experienced enough in parish work in the States. However, he insisted that I go ahead.
Consequently around the first of August I went to St. Louis, and Father Stakelum and I drove out to the site of the future St. Catherine Laboure Parish. The site was on Sappington Road, about a mile south of the unincorporated village of Sappington. The tract of land for the future parish consisted of 104 acres of land, which at one time had been farm lands but it had not been cultivated for ten years or more, and brush and trees had grown up so that it would have been hard to even walk through.
On August 17, 1953 I moved to St. Louis. There were no living accommodations around the church site, so I stayed at St. Louis Prep Seminary, since this was about the closest to the future St. Catherine Laboure Parish. Just opposite the tract of land for the future church lived Roy Stuckrneyer, and just behind, Bill Kozney, both Catholics, and both having lived there for some time. They were acquainted with some of the Catholics in the area, and gave me the names of those known to them.

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families and take a census. From just about each family I visited I got the name of other Catholics, and I would then visit them. However this was a slow process, for the territory was large, and when someone suggested that we hold a get-together meeting of all the Catholics in the new parish, and invite all to attend, I jumped at the idea.
So we called this meeting at Bippen’s Estates, Catholics. and
30-40 families showed up, all very enthused and happy that they were to have a parish much closer than the one they were now attending.
At this meeting it was decided to have as many of these people who showed up help in taking the census; doing it in a fairly systematic and complete fashion. In this way we would know more or less about the total Catholic population within the boundaries.
Just how many Catholics lived in this area was unknown, for the northern part of the parish, and most of the western part, was cut off from St. Peter’s Church, in Kirkwood. The southern part came from St. Paul’s in Fenton. The eastern part was cut off from Assumption in Mattese; and the eastern part came from Seven Holy Founders in Affton.

St. Catherine Laboure lost no time in letting the pastor, and the parishioners know that she was undoubtedly pleased and honored to have a parish dedicated to her. From the very beginning things seemed to take off on high gear and proceeded with very few hitches. In September, just about a month after the first start had been made and after I had scouted the entire parish trying to find a hail or some building which we might use for Sunday Mass, and thereby really get started, a fairly new house immediately opposite our site and separated only by the width of the road, went up for sale. I immediately saw the Archbishop for permission to buy this house to be used as a rectory. It had six rooms with a double garage and a full basement. The Bishop gave permission and loaned up $22,703.00 for its purchase.
With the purchase of this home for a rectory, and since I had as yet been unable to find a suitable place for Mass, we decided to convert the basement of the rectory into a temporary church.


Through the now completed census we found that nearly 200 Catholic families lived within the boundaries. However, many of them lived on the fringes of the parish boundariesand since the territory was big, were separated from the church site by a considerable distance. Many of these had children attending parochial school in the parish from which they had been cut. These families were not over elated at being put into a new parish, but all who were closer were very enthusiastic, and made up for those who were not. These pitched in immediately to get the ball rolling.
After the purchase of the rectory the parishioners threw a shower for all the Catholics, and through this one shower the entire rectory was furnished not only with furniture, but also with beds, linens, towels, a refrigerator, stove, etc. and the next day I moved in.
Just previous to the shower the parishioners painted the entire house, plastered the walls the basement, painted the floor, made kneelers, etc. I borrowed a small altar from Kenrick Seminary, together with altar linens, etc.
And so on All Saint’s Day, 1953 I said the first Mass in St. Catherine Laboure Parish This happened to be a Sunday this year, and we had well over 200 people attend the three Masses which were said.
Shortly after this I was able to get permission from Thomas Jefferson School, a private High School on Lindburg Highway, to use their gym for a Sunday Mass. This made it possible for us to have two early Masses in the basement of the rectory, and then go over to Thomas Jefferson gym and have a 11 o’clock Mass, which was large enough to accommodate as many people as came.
Our basement chapel held comfortably about 50 people, but it was nothing unusual to have 75 in attendance. As an example of how crowded they were, one day after Mass a man came to me and handed me his offering. When I asked him if the ushers had not come to) him he replied: “They came, but we were so crowded that I could not get my hand into my pocket to get my offering.”


Looking back upon it now, it does not seem that we kept up the awkward arrangement of going over to Thomas Jefferson gym every Sunday and having to set up the altar, chairs, etc., and then take it down when we had finished, but we did it for about two years. For it was about a year from the time we began before any permanent buildings were begun, and it took about a year for them to be completed, and we were able to move in.
Bids for the construction of our first buildings were let in October, 1954. Ground breaking was on October 31, 1954, with Monsignor Peter Dooley, the Dean presiding. Everything went off fine, except that we actually missed the spot of the to-be buildings. The place was so grown up in weeds and brush that we had to cut a path through, and we found later that we had missed the actual site by 14-20 feet.
People would now find it hard to believe, but during the fall of 1953 Steve Dunker came out to help one Sunday, and after dinner we went over and did some rabbit hunting on the site of the present St. Catherine Laboure buildings, and we got some too.
During the time of the erection of the buildings the parishioners were busy sponsoring events to raise money for the new church. They had home card parties, a picnic, a large card party in one of the hotels down town., etc., and everyone was filled with enthusiasm. As a result, everything proceeded quickly and happily.
 I suppose it exemplifies the saying of St. Augustine, who said:
“Where there is love, there is no labor. And if there is labor, it is a labor of love.” Everyone was so filled with enthusiasm and good will, and so generous with both their money and their time that it was truly admirable, and made my Job tremendously lighter. I told them that prior to the actual beginning of the parish I had envisioned it as myself, alone, having to pull and tug at the whole load, like a large wagon. But after a while I found that I did not have to pull or tug at all. I merely directed and guided the wagon, riding on the top, while the parishioners did all of the pulling; and It was not too hard for them, for there were many willing hands. And not only did I only have to guide it, but I sometimes had to


apply the brakes to keep it from moving too fast.
The buildings we decided upon was to consist of a temporary church, which could be converted into a gym if and when a church was built. It was to be 100 X 55 feet. Beneath the church was a cafeteria for the school, which would also serve as an all-purpose room. The school had 8 classrooms, with two other rooms at the front, which for the present would be used for a convent for the Sisters of Charity, who were to staff the school.
Construction proceeded fairly fast, but, of courses not as fast as I wanted it to, or as fast as it was supposed to. It was scheduled to be completed by August 15, so that classes could begin in September, but we had to delay school opening till September 26, till the work was completed.
The first year of our school we had 153 pupils, taught by four Sisters of Charity, with two grades in each room.
Our church was not completed till the end of November, for they had concentrated on finishing the school first. The first Mass we said in our church was on Sunday, November 28, 1955, which was the feast of the Miraculous Medal, Sb. Catherine Laboure’s special day.
Due to the rapid growth of the parish, from the building of new homes within the parish, 1956, the second year of our school saw 230 pupils enrolled. The lower grades were divided and put into separate rooms because of the large number, but the upper grades went for another year doubled up.
During the second years Father William Winkelmann, C.M. was appointed as assistant pastor and he stayed for four years.
1957 marked the 25th Anniversary of my ordination to the priest- hood, and the parish threw a wonderful celebration party at which a very nice purse was given to me. I also received the use of a car for the summers and I made use of it to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park.


In 1958 a convent was built for the Sisters, and the two rooms that were used as a convent wore converted into classrooms.
The original cost of our buildings was $267,83.00, plus $86,900. for furnishings; plus $22,703 for the rectory; plus $20,023 for the 10½ acres of land, for a grand total of $397,500.00.  However, to the generosity of the parishioners each year we wore able to pay off considerable. sums on our debt, as well as meet Our interest payments and running expenses. After a few years, after we had begun to grow, we were able to repay in the neighborhood of $50,000.00 each year on our debt, as well as meet all our other responsibilities.  By 1959 the 10 available classrooms that we had wore no longer sufficient to accommodate the continual increase in enrollment, so we had to add 6 more classrooms, making 16 in all. In spite of continual increase on expenses due to the larger number of pupils, and consequent larger number of teachers, etc., we continued to liquidate our indebtedness, so I was emboldened to ask for permission to build a rectory. Up to this time we were still using the original home we purchased in the very beginning, but with Father Barr, who took Father Winkelinann’s place, a housekeeper and myself, everything was very cramped. The new rectory which we built had two stories and a full basement. The priests’ living quarters were on the second floor, and consisted of three suites, a guest room, and a recreation room. The first floor had two parlors, a large office, dining room, kitchen, chapel and 3 rooms for the housekeeper. The basement was divided into half; one half was for storage, laundry, mimeograph room, quilting room. The other half was finished with paneling and tiled floor, and was used for small meetings, gatherings, etc. I remained in St. Catherine’s for eleven years, which I can truthfully says were very happy years. I dare say they were among the happiest days of my life.


Perhaps in my younger years in China there might have been times and places that afforded me more pleasure, but I think that this was due to my youth when you enjoy everything more, and the fact that I was in China, where there were so many things that were notable and interesting just because they were now.
But for real and true happiness I believe that the years at St. Catherine’s were the best. The people were, so kind and helpful and generous that it was a genuine happiness to work with them. But most of all I think that it was the grace of God, obtained through the intercession of St. Catherine Laboure. Just too many projects succeeded ------not in any miraculous manner, but in plain everyday fashion---- to attribute it to any other source. I am not so proud as to think that the parish of St. Catherine Laboure succeeded so Well because of my ability, even though I got the credit for most of it. Nor am I as likeable a person as I, for the most part, was liked at St. Catherine’s. I always have, and always will, attribute it to St. Catherine. I think that she was so pleased with a parish being dedicated to her honor that she reciprocated by personally seeing that “her” parish progressed and succeeded. I began work in St. Catherine’s with much trepidation, but as the years went on I began to place more confidence and trust in Almighty God, through the intercession of St. Catherine, and I can truthfully, and humbly say, that St. Catherine Laboure Parish succeeded beyond my fondest dreams, and I think, beyond the dreams of anyone else as well.
The financial burden at St. Catherine’s was considerable, but actually it was not a burden in the strict sense of the word, for due to the generosity of the parishioners we regularly were able to decrease the amount of our indebtedness each year in a very substantial fashion. Had I remained in St. Catherine’s one more year we would have totally wiped out our debt. I don’t now remember the exact amount, but it was in the neighborhood of a little over half a million dollars, in 12 year’s time.
After being in St. Catherine’s for eleven years, and having seen everything connected with the parish in any manner shape or form from its very inception I probably felt like a parent feels towards a child of theirs. And I likewise felt as though I myself had become a part of St. Catherine’s. Consequently, when, in the summer of 1964, I received a letter from our Provincial, Father Fisher, saying that I had been transferred to St. Vincent Parish in Cape Girardeau, I was shocked, and stunned quite a bit. It is true that I had never expected to remain in St. Catherine’s for the rest of my priestly life. I knew that some day I should have to leave. But I also know that some day I must die, but
I dare say that when that time comes I and others like me, will find It hard to realize that “that time” has arrived.
The parishioners of St. Catherine’s gave me a truly wonderful send-off, and I think that my sadness in leaving was matched by the sadness of some in having me go.


So during the summer of 1964 I turned over the pastorate of St. Catherine to Father Quigley, my successor and I took off for Cape Girardeau,
Probably the only reason I was not elated to go to St. Vincent’s in Cape was because I had just left St. Catherine’s. Cape Girardeau is a very nice town; close to my home; not too large, and not too small; with lots of nice friendly people in it. Furthermore St. Vincent Parish had a fairly new rectory, convent and school, but still used the old church, over 100 years old on the riverfront. St. Vincent’s is an ideal sized parish, of some 500 families, who come from all walks in life: some fairly well off; some not so well off, but the majority of the solid middle class. I did not have too many financial problems in Cape, even though we owed a considerable sum of money, contracted in the building of the new school, convent and rectory. We were always able to meet all of our financial obligations and make regular payments in reducing our debt, most of the time we were also able to make extra payments for debt reduction. I remained in St. Vincent’s for five years, and can truly say that I was happy. The people were friendly, generous, and appreciative, and the were not too many factions, or bickering among different groups, and everyone got along with everyone else fairly well. ‘The Second Vatican Council took place around the time of my going to Cape Girardeau, but, as you well know, the full impact, especially the many changes in the church did not take place immediately. At this time ‘I was 63 years of age, and when the many changes in the church began, with their consequent upheaval and turmoil, I came to the conclusion that someone younger then I should be in charge. Naturally there were things about being a pastor that I liked, but I can truthfully say that I never coveted the job of pastor. I always felt that I was an INDIAN and not a CHIEF, and felt that I could do better work in the ranks than at the head.


Consequently I wrote to Father Fisher, our Provincial, telling him that I thought a younger man should be put in charge, and asked him to let ins return to the ranks as an assistant.
In the summer of 1969 Father Fisher gave me my request, and I was assigned to St. Vincent Parish in Phoenix, Arizona. St. Vincent’s in Phoenix is so different from any of the other parishes I had been in previously, that it could almost be called the equivalent of going to China. St. Vincent’s in Phoenix is tremendously large, and no one knows exactly, or even approximately, how many parishioners they really have. At that time the guess was 3000-4000 families. With such a large number it Is physically impossible to have more than a general idea end knowledge of the parish as a whole. We frequently had as many as 6000 persons at Mass on Sundays, and goodness knows how many who should have been there, but were not. The geography and topography of Phoenix is beautiful, in its way; extremely different from any whore I had been before. Phoenix is extremely dry and hot. The summer I was there the hottest it got was 116°, and that summer we had 183 clays when the temperature got above the 100° mark. However, it is not as bad as it seems, for the humidity is extremely low. As a result, even though the air sometimes feels as though it is coming out of an oven, it is not too uncomfortable. Because of the low humidity, even with the heat, you do not get the feeling of being a wrung-out dish rag. 115° in Phoenix is more comfortable than 90° in St Louis, New Orleans, et al.
Phoenix is also in the deserts and there were so many different and interesting places and things to see. Each week on my day off I would usually drive to some of these places, and thoroughly enjoyed it. When Father Fisher sent me to Phoenix he said that there would be two older priests and two younger priests in the parish there, and the combination of the two should work out beneficially and help-


fully in the work in the parish. However, oil and water do not mix, and at the end of the year when I was changed back to the mid-west I was glad to go. There were still many points of interest I would have liked to see, but I did not grieve too much in going,
When I left Phoenix I heard that there was an opening in Pampa, Texas, and, as I had been there on two previous visits of a few days, and liked what I saw on these occasions, I applied for the opening, and Father Fisher granted my request. And after being in Pampa for some time I have found that my first impressions of Pampa were correct, with their reputation of “Texas Hospitality” well founded and correct.
Pampa is also dry, with a normal rainfall of 20 inches, but many years we are not normal. The humidity is low, so like Phoenix, though it sometimes gets hot, you do not feel it or notice it too much, Unlike Phoenix, the area surrounding the town is not desert. Some of it is farmland, and same that s unsuited for farming is used as range for cattle.
Oil put Pampa on the map. Around 1940 oil was discovered, and the Pampa Chamber of Commerce says that Gray County, in which Pampa is situated, has 13,000 oil wells and 8,000 gas wells. You will have to admit that this is quite a number, even if the Chamber of Commerce might have exaggerated a bit, even though I am not sure of this. There are not that many now, for in the almost 50 year that they have been producing oil, they have produced a tremendous amount. But everything must come to an end sometimes, and now many wells have been pumped dry, and have been abandoned, but there are still many, many wells still producing their “black gold’.
Pampa is in what is known as the Panhandle of Texas, and is also pretty much in the area of storied cowboy land. However, the era of the cowboy is now long past, and I am convinced, that most of the excitement, and. glory, and the romance of cowboys came from the. minds and imaginations of the writers of Western novels rather than from fact.


To be honest about it, this area here is just too dry to produce grass and pasture for many cattle. Maybe some of the original wild and prairie grasses have been plowed up, and disappeared, but there are tens of thousands of acres of land around here that have never been plowed. And I know that they have never been plowed, for they are just too rough to be suitable for farming. And yet on these virgin acres, grass is almost non-existent. There are clumps and bits of grass here end there, but for the most part they are more weeds than grass. The ranchers here will tell you that it takes 20 acres of this type of land to support one cow. So when the novelists talk about ranchers in the olden days running 10,000 head of cattle, that would mean that they would need 200,000 acres of land for this one rancher. In fact, 200,000 acres of land is 312+ sections of land, and a section is a mile square. So I don’t think there were many ranchers who ran 10,000 head of cattle.  Not only is the northern part of Texas so dry as to afford very little grazing for cattle, but a good part of Oklahoma is exactly the same, and New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California are even worse, for they are deserts. I have no figures to back it up, but I dare say that there are now ten times more cattle in Texas than there ever wore, even in the good old cowboy days. The difference is that now most of them are in feed pens. The procedure of raising cattle in the l970’ies is to put’ yearling, or about, calves or steers, into feed pens, where they have feed before them at all times, and in approximately another, year, two years for the steer, it is ready for market. St. Vincent’s Parish in Pampa is relatively small, with only slightly more than 300 families. Father Hynes is the pastor, and I have never in my life seen a better Public Relations person. He has an uncanny instinct of knowing and keeping up with every single event that happens, be it in the parish, or the town. As a result, he knows of most events even before they happen. Consequently ho is usually on the spot when things do happen, and take care of it. He does most of the work, and I do not have too much to do. However, I am now 68 years old, and it is time that I slow down a bit. So I keep occupied with reading, odd jobs, and a small amount of parish work.



So we now come to the year 1974, having covered 68 years since I was born, and we have covered some of the things that happened to me in this time.
In those past 60 years, as I said in the beginning, many, many changes have taken place; more changes perhaps than have taken place in the previous 600 years. But they have come about so gradually that one is hardly conscious of them. We have come from the horse and buggy days to the space age in just my lifetime. We have come from the time when travelling 100  miles from home might be the event of a lifetime; now travel to the moon is almost routine. More people now have two automobiles than people previously had two pairs of shoes. We have come from an era when people frequently suffered from an unbalanced and insufficient diet to the day when three out of four persons are overweight and are dieting to reduce weight. We have come from the day when just about everything made by hand, to the day of automation, mechanization, and computerization. And changes have taken place, not only in the physical world, but also in the church and in religion. When I went to the Seminary we rose at 4:00 A.M.; now Vincentians get up just about when they feel like it. All my life I abstained from meat on Fridays, vigils and what-not’s now any excuse is sufficient to enjoy a juicy steak on Friday.
From the time I was 21 till I was 59 I fasted each day during Lent, as well as vigils, Ember Days, etc. Now all one has to fast are on two days of the year.
During the time I was in the Seminary a student could get kicked out of the Seminary if we were caught smoking; now it is permitted.
When I was in the Seminary we could not even spend our own money without permission; now if a Student does not have money of his own to spend, it is given to him.

We formerly were told to give up and renounce “the world”; now everyone is supposed..-----even Novices----to come into contact with;
be wrapped up in, and be of the world. We took permanent vows after two years Novitiate, and if you could not make up your mind after two years you were sent home. And 95% of those who did take vows after two years Novitiate remained true to them. Now Students are not required to take vows after two year of Novitiate, and there are some who can even make up their minds after 7-8 years in the Seminary. For 35 years I religiously observed fast from everything, including waters from midnight till after I completed saying Mass, even though it might have been a 11:00 A.M. Mass. Now all that one ban to do is to observe one hour’s fast, and water is not included.
For 35 years I religiously said my “Office”, in Latin, each day, which took from 45 minutes to an hour, even though I might have ridden a horse, rode a bicycle, or walked 8-10 hours a day. Now Latin has been done away with, and the Office is said in English, taking about 20 minutes. But almost any out-of-the-ordinary excuse is sufficient
to excuse self from saying any office at all. Previously just about everything had well defined borders, separating good from bad; right from wrong; mortal sin from venial sin; what was permitted and what was not permitted; what you could do and what you could not do. Now everything is relative: no borders; No black and white------all gray; conscience reigns supreme; love------ spelled LUV----covers everything. Therefore, I have just about come to the conclusion that I, like St. Paul, was “born out of due season”. The things that I was taught, and the things that I did, for a great portion of my life have suddenly been changed or done away with. And if my past is any indication I probably will not achieve it, but I do hope that when it comes my time to die, THEY WILL NOT have CHANGED OR DONE AWAY WITH HEAVEN.

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