by Jill Ragar Esefeld
LENEXA — On the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a prayer garden was dedicated in memory of Father Tom Dolezal, the pastor of Holy Trinity Parish here from July 2001 to June 2011.
The meditation garden sits outside the east entrance to the parish eucharistic adoration chapel and features a large crucifix overlooking a fountain surrounded by the Stations of the Cross.
Father Dolezal’s brother Bill Dolezal came from Iowa to unveil the dedication plaque.
“It’s humbling,” he said. “It’s a nice remembrance of Tom for his love of the parish here.
“The most appropriate thing is his devotion to Mary and this being dedicated on her feast day. He died on the first of January, which is Mary’s feast day, too.”
Father Dolezal was instrumental in building the eucharistic adoration chapel. His favorite depiction of Mary, Madonna of the Streets, stands in sculpture inside beside the monstrance.
Holy Trinity pastor Father Mike Koller spoke at the event and, with the help of associate pastor Father Travis Mecum, blessed the Stations of the Cross and crucifix.
“This project that we’re blessing this evening has been a long time coming,” he said. “It’s been our desire to beautify this area since it is so close to our adoration chapel.”
Father Koller specifically thanked former Holy Trinity School student Evan Melchior, who took on the responsibility of installing the Stations as his Boy Scout Eagle project.
He also acknowledged the Holy Trinity Threaders for donating funds to enable the purchase of the crucifix.
And he thanked parishioner Bob McLoughlin for patching and restoring a statue of Jesus that stands beside the garden.
Doug Liekem, the parish groundskeeper, constructed the garden with the help and landscaping expertise of parishioners Tom and Regina Wittman.
“Doug personally installed the fountain, the crucifix and the memorial plaque and continues to nurture this holy space nearly every day,” said Father Koller.
For Liekem, it has been a longtime goal to beautify the area outside the eucharistic adoration chapel and make it a serene and prayerful space.
“I want people to think Holy Trinity is a special place,” he said. “I don’t want it to look like a country-club Catholic, but it should be nice and it should draw people in.”
“When they walk in to talk to Jesus, it should be nice for them when they walk out — they should feel like praying here, too,” Liekem added.
Many parishioners gathered to celebrate the dedication and remember their former pastor.
“For those of you who knew Father Tom Dolezal,” said Father Koller, “you knew him to be a man of great faith and prayer.
“And I’m sure he’s looking down on us with a smile and is pleased this garden has finally come to fruition.”