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Sleep in heavenly peace

Father Mark Goldasich is the pastor of Sacred Heart parish in Tonganoxie. He has been editor of the Leaven since 1989.

by Father Mark Goldasich

I rarely post anything on Facebook; I’m usually just a lurker. However, a couple of weeks ago, I put something there and was shocked at the responses.

The “something” came from the Facebook group Families of Strawberry Hill. The site posted an old article from the St. John’s Chimes, a newsletter published while I was growing up by my home parish of St. John the Baptist in Kansas City, Kansas.

The story, which included a picture, was from August 1972 when my parents, Carl and Angeline, were named parishioners of the month. I’d intended to send the article to only a few people, but being Facebook-impaired, I posted it instead to all my friends.

That’s when the comments started rolling in. Many said, “You look just like your dad!” That surprised me because, of course, I look just like my dad. Everybody knows that.

And then, it hit me! Anyone who has only known me since I’ve been a priest, probably never met my dad. I was ordained on July 11, 1981, and Dad died of a sudden heart attack on Sept. 11 of that year.

Happily, Dad did get to see my ordination and visit me at my first parish assignment at Most Pure Heart of Mary in Topeka. He also made a couple of trips to Rome while I lived at the North American College.

To this day, though, there’s a pang in my heart that I didn’t get to spend as much time with him as I would have liked. I was only at home on weekends and during the summers while a student at Savior of the World Seminary.

Then, I was away longer when in college in St. Paul, Minnesota, and still longer when in Rome. But I have many wonderful memories of this gentle, funny, hardworking man.

After Dad died, I told my mom, who was in her early 60s then, that she should feel free to date again if she wanted. She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Nope. I got lucky the first time!”

I, too, feel lucky (blessed) at the dad I had. One special “gift” he had is capsulized in this story:

One summer while I was in the college seminary, two priests on the staff came to visit me and my parents. After a wonderful meal and, since our home didn’t have air-conditioning, we all went to sit on the front porch to enjoy a nice breeze. There was a selection of seats there and the priests waved my dad to the chaise lounge. I thought my mom’s eyes were going to bug out; she knew what would happen.

After just a little while, a noise was added to the sounds of traffic on I-70 and the cicadas: It was the hum of my dad, serenading us with his snoring! Mom lunged toward him, but one of the priests stopped her and said, “Leave him, Angie! It’s the sign of a clear conscience!”

Yes, my dad’s peaceful conscience came from his deep faith. He was involved in the parish and ever ready to help anyone who needed a ride, some fix-it project done or a good laugh.

As we celebrate Father’s Day, enjoy time with yours and savor those dad stories.

And now, in honor of my dad, I think it’s time to “rest my eyes.” Love you, Dad.

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Fr. Mark Goldasich

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