Fr. Mark Miller, C.Ss.R.
As you are all aware, the Edmonton-Toronto province did not have a Chapter or Assembly this year which is where we would normally celebrate our Jubilarians. Fortunately, we were still able to celebrate the five men who have arrived at a special anniversary this year when we gathered in Grande Prairie. We first shared the Eucharist with our Redemptorist Associates and then had a wonderful, celebratory supper in the back yard of the rectory. The following is meant to be a brief toast to these five men.
To begin with (and a little bit to the astonishment of most of us younger Redemptorists) there was actually a class of three men celebrating together their 60th anniversary of profession. Frs. Albert Sterzer, Bill Comerford, and Tex Keindel committed themselves as Redemptorists on Sept. 15, 1956 after their novitiate begun at L’Abord-á-Plouffe and finished in Senneville under Fr. McElligott.
Fr. Albert comes from Winnipeg and carried out his ministry and mission work in the West. He was stationed, at one time or another, in most of the communities in the Prairie provinces, and included a stint as provincial (1978-84) of the Edmonton province where, to paraphrase a previous provincial, he was the embodiment of kindness and concern for the confreres. He has spent much of his life ministering in parishes but also was a member of the Redemptorist Mission Team for several years. Albert is now ‘retired’ and helping out in the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan wherever he is needed. His zeal and dedication to Our Redeemer keep him (relatively) young at heart and busy as a Redemptorist confrere and a priest.
Fr. Bill Comerford was a member of the Toronto Province. After ordination in 1962, he went to Holy Redeemer Parish in Charlottetown, followed by several years as a chaplain in Catholic schools in Quebec. In 1972 he was stationed in Saint John where he met Joan Green with whom he fashioned a friendship and life-long ministry. A year at Stuebenville prepared him for work in the Charismatic Movement, much of which he carried out in Toronto, working out of Holy Name Parish and then the Provincial Residence. He was the confessor for our Redemptoristines in Fort Erie for many years. In 2007 Bill moved to Vancouver as associate pastor, retiring there three years later. After some heart problems, he has progressed to a healthy, active retiree, still serving the Lord in multiple ways in the Archdiocese.
Fr. Tex (Gerald) Keindel is another Westerner. He grew up in St. Mary’s Parish in Saskatoon in the glory years (loads of active young people) and was ordained in 1962 by Archbishop Jordan in Edmonton. He continued with studies after ordination in Aylmer followed by work to obtain a B.Ed. at the University of Alberta. He taught for a year at HRC, Edmonton. He worked in our parishes of Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Beaverlodge (Alberta) over the years, taking 1979-80 at St. Paul’s University in Ottawa for a Master’s in pastoral counseling. In 2002 Tex moved to Villa Marguerite where, over the past 8 years, he has accepted the task of rector. His hobby today is knitting—scarves, mitts, sweaters—for street people and others in need!
Two other confreres celebrated Jubiliees this year:
Fr. Rajmund Dorawa, celebrating his 40th anniversary of ordination, was born August 25, 1950 in Inowroclaw, Poland. He was ordained a Redemptorist priest June 17, 1976. After a three-year appointment as an associate pastor in Elblag, Poland, Rajmund came to Canada to assist the Edmonton Province in its mission and ministry. After studying English, he spent 16 years as associate pastor in Grande Prairie, Saskatoon, and Yorkton and then pastor in Saskatoon. He subsequently proceeded to study at the Alphonsianum in Rome where he received his Master’s and then a Doctorate in moral theology. At that time, under the auspices of the Vienna Province with its mission in Denmark, Rajmund worked in Copenhagen and Odense in three languages: Polish, English & Danish. A knee injury in Denmark resulted in a knee replacement (since re-done twice) which has limited his mobility. He is now stationed in Grande Prairie where he has a special ministry to the sick (with a great deal of empathy for them due to his own experiences) and as a confessor. He is a man of prayer and, despite limitations, zealous in his care of the sick.
Fr. David Louch is celebrating his Golden Jubilee as a Redemptorist this year. He was raised in the Redemptorist parish of St. Alphonsus in Edmonton and was one of the first students at Holy Redeemer College in Edmonton when it opened in 1959. David was professed on August 22, 1966 after a year with Fr. Martin Foley as novice director (then ‘master’). He completed his theological studies at our seminary in Geistingen, Germany and, after ordination, finished a doctorate in systematic theology at St. Michael’s College, Toronto in 1979. David has been a willing labourer in the vineyard of the Lord all his life, taking on numerous responsibilities for formation of students, associate pastor and pastor in our parishes, teaching at St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta, spending two years at the Carter Centre (Southdown) all the while contributing to the Redemptorist administration through numerous years on provincial councils, various secretariats and commissions, and now as part of the North American Conference (Partners in Mission Commission). He is in the last year of a four-year commitment to the Desert House of Prayer in Tucson, AZ where he provides spiritual direction and shares his teaching skills in numerous ways.
Let us salute our five confreres and thank God for the opportunities that these good men have taken advantage of to serve the Kingdom of God with zeal, skill, intelligence, dedication, and perseverance. We are blessed to have them in our midst.