Word for Word 12/12/18

Fr. Mark Osterhaus
Fr. Mark Osterhaus

Clear Vision and Words That Both Inform and Unite

Two longtime members of our community of Waukon and the faith community of St. Patrick Parish have died recently. Their professions, and what they did to serve our community, can relate to the Season of Advent and the coming Feast of Christmas.

Dick Schilling’s funeral was Monday, December 3. Dick served as editor of the Waukon Standard for 36 years! To serve for that length of time as editor in one community is remarkable. Dick had written his column “And Then I Wrote…” from 1965 until just two weeks ago. Dick was a man of his word and a man who knew the importance of words. When we think of the power of words to unite, challenge and encourage, we realize just how important our local paper (and our radio station) are for us.

When we consider our faith, we know how much we need the power of the Word of God in our lives. In the prologue of the Gospel of John, we are told that “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” At Christmas, we Christians celebrate the Word made flesh, in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Dick Schilling was a man who treasured the printed word, his faith, and the power of God’s Word.

Another member of our parish whose funeral was a few days ago was Dr. Jim Rixen. Jim was a devoted husband, father and grandfather who served for many years at the Gundersen Clinic as an optometrist. He dedicated his life to helping people to see more clearly.

Certainly we can talk about the importance of people with clear vision who help lead and serve our community. The connection can also be made that having a clear vision and grasp of the ‘big picture” is the purpose of a life lived for the Lord.

I like the lines of the song “Day by Day” from the musical “Godspell”:  “To see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly, day by day.”

We will miss both Dick and Jim. These men made life better for the rest of us, to see things a little more clearly, and to be inspired and encouraged by the power of words.

Fr. Mark Osterhaus
Catholic Parish Pastor
Waukon, Hanover, Dorchester

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