Columnists Mark my words

A friend in need is a friend indeed

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

How incredible is the human mind. I was reminded of its power in a most unexpected way while proofreading an article in last week’s Leaven.

This story was from Catholic News Service about December’s devastating tornado damage in Kentucky. As I read along, my mind suddenly halted as it came across the name of the pastor of Resurrection Church in Dawson Springs there, the parish featured in the story: Father David Kennedy.

“I think I know him,” I said to myself. But how? Then, my mind dredged up a dusty, buried memory. Back in the early 1970s, when I was a high school student at Savior of the World Seminary (now Savior Pastoral Center), there was a guy named David Kennedy the year ahead of me. And he was one of four seminarians at Savior from the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky. I also recalled him as a teammate on our soccer squad.

Since my curiosity was now piqued, I hopped onto the Owensboro diocesan website and searched for any further information I could get on him. There was only an email address and a thumbnail photo of him. When I enlarged the picture, I shook my head as it really didn’t look like the guy I had in mind.

Then, I started laughing at my ridiculousness: He looked different because it’s been almost 50 years since I last saw him! (“Unlike me,” it looked like he’d aged!)

I decided to send an email to this Father David Kennedy. The subject line read: Did you attend Savior of the World High School Seminary? I then explained who I was and how I thought I might know him. I pressed send and off the message went.

The very next evening, I got a return email and, holy cow, it was the David Kennedy I knew from our Savior days! He’d kept up on news of Savior alumni as he knew that Father Bob Everard and Father Patric Riley had both died.

He went on to describe that his diocese bore the brunt of the tornadoes. Of the approximately 75 people killed, miraculously none of them were Catholics. However, his parish of Resurrection, one of three churches that he’s the pastor of, was destroyed.

Although my heart was already aching for those whose lives were upended by the tornadoes, it took on a special significance as I now knew someone personally affected by it.

This — as well as this past June when I gathered in Branson, Missouri, with 10 classmates from Rome as we celebrated our 40th anniversaries of ordination — reminded me of what tremendous treasure friendships are.  Although we may not have the opportunity to get together often in person, these ties of shared experiences from “once upon a time” never become completely unraveled. It is an astonishing gift to be able to pick up things again as if no time at all has passed. It was especially humbling when Father Kennedy wrote: “I have always kept you guys from Kansas in my prayers.” Well, you can bet that I’ve now added him to mine.

I know that some parishes have already taken up a collection for the tornado victims. If you’ve not had the opportunity to contribute and would like to do so, please consider helping my friend to rebuild. Checks can be made out to Resurrection Church and sent directly to Father Kennedy at Immaculate Conception Church, 112 S. Day St., Earlington, KY 42410.

How true is the quote that says: “Because of friends, we laugh a little harder, cry a little less and smile a lot more.”

About the author

Fr. Mark Goldasich

Leave a Comment