Franciscan

Three recent deaths

BY FR. JEFF SCHEELER, OFM

They say deaths come in threes, and that seems to have been true for us this Christmas. Fr. Ed Lammert died on Dec. 17, Fr. Rock Travnikar on Dec. 25, and Fr. Ted Hattrup on Jan. 1, so maybe we will be OK for a while! The holidays were anything but quiet in the Provincial staff offices, especially for Provincial Secretary Dan Anderson. Dan is the one who does most of the work: arranging the day and time for the funeral with families; notifying friends and relatives; dealing with the funeral home and cemetery; preparing the letter to the friars, notifying the General Curia; choosing music and getting liturgical ministers; printing the program; and making the memorial card.

This time he was juggling three sets of arrangements pretty much at the same time, especially with Rock and Ted. I am grateful to Dan for putting his planning and organizing skills at the service of our brotherhood, not only in these situations, but for the past many years. He will tell you he likes to make things look nice and go well by working in the background, but I want to publicly thank him for doing just that.

I do want to tell you a funny story, though, that shows he is still human. Dan prepares a special "sacramentary" for me with all the Mass prayers in one binder. He personalizes it for each friar, doing a "search" and "replace" on the names. A couple of funerals ago, the binder was prepared for Fr. Joe Rigali. The next time we used it was for Fr. Bill Reichel, so Dan had the computer replace all the Joes and Josephs in the text with Bill and William. That’s when Rocky got a promotion. In the Eucharistic prayer, the new text read, "May he make of us an eternal offering to you, so that we may obtain an inheritance with your elect, especially with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with Blessed Bill her spouse…" I caught the typo and made sure Joseph took his rightful place as Mary’s spouse, but I was suppressing laughter all the rest of the way through the Mass.

Thank you, Dan!

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