I went to Saint Meinrad last weekend to graduate with a Master of Arts in Catholic Thought and Life. I was one of 45 that graduated (the official announcement is here). It was great to see everyone again, to be back on the “hill”, and to have some of my family there to share the event and the beautiful surroundings.
My older brother and sister were there along with most of their families. I gave some tours, we spent time at the Unstable, I also got to sit in with the house band on Saturday night – that was really nice. I really had a good time and look forward to going back in October for my class’s deacon ordination.
Now I need to start on the next graduate degree, a Master of Theological Studies. The classroom requirements have already been met, so now I need to complete the thesis. Fun stuff – yeah right!!!! I have the next five years to do it, but I am going to option for the spring, then I can graduate with my original class.
Father Jewitt passed away on Ash Wednesday, February 6, 2008. He was my first Pastor when I moved to Tulsa (he was Pastor at St. Thomas More Parish). When I began my seminary studies he was my first summer assignment Pastor. We grew to become friends and he invited me to join him on other breaks from school. He was so kind to open his residence to me, and to share his wisdom.
Fr. Jewitt was a priest for almost 49 years. He held many positions in the leadership of the Diocese of Oklahoma and then the Diocese of Tulsa, including Diocesan Administrator for two terms when Tulsa was without a Bishop.
I was fortunate to spend some time with Fr. Jewitt over the last few weeks, as well as some time with him and his family on Tuesday afternoon and evening. He will be missed but his mark has been made on this world.
You can read more about Fr. Jewitt at the Diocesan website or at the Tulsa World.
Reverend Bernard Jewitt
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may Your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all of the faithful departed rest in peace.
A good friend of mine, Harry Hardy, passed away this evening in Helena, Montana after his third bout with cancer. I have known the Hardy family since the late 70’s and have shared many wonderful times with them over the years. He was a throat cancer survivor from the mid ’70’s and was a pretty tough old bird.
Harry was a musician, a band director, and a wood craftsman. He enjoyed life and pursued his many interests with great zeal. He was a big fan of dixieland jazz and played in a few bands in Montana and did some touring also. One of his claims to fame was being an uncredited actor in the Jimmy Stewart movie, “The Glenn Miller Story”. Harry was directing the military band (I believe on an airstrip) when Jimmy (Glenn in the movie) pushed him out of the way and took over directing. Harry was in a military band in his young years as he was a quite talented low brass player. Harry many times called the movie, and I quote, “The Glenn Miller Story starring Harry G. Hardy and co-starring Jimmy Stewart.”
Here is a picture of Harry from the 1978 Capital High Yearbook from one of the schools where he taught. I found this picture on their “Class of ’78” website where many mentioned Mr. Hardy as their favorite teacher.
Harry is survived by his wife, Molly, his children Kathy and David, 2 brothers and a sister, and many nephews, nieces, grand-nephews and grand-nieces.
You can find his obituary and other comments on this link: Helena Independent Record – Life Story of Harry G. Hardy.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, amen.
Blessings and grace to you during this Easter season. This has been a very blessed time for me and I want to share these last few weeks with you.
During the last few weeks of the semester, before the Easter break, I was blessed to teach a group of young ladies preparing for their Quince Años celebration (this is a Mexican tradition for 15 year old girls – almost a spiritual rite of passage). My seminarian brother Chad King and I have spent 4 weeks helping them better understand their life in the faith and the call on their lives to serve God. These bright and energetic young women were probably not too sure how to take us seminarians, but especially during the last couple of meetings we were able to see their hearts and spirits opening to the power of the Holy Spirit. God is so good!!!!
For the week before Holy Week, all seminarians from St. Meinrad are to take a 5 day retreat. I had my retreat at Subiaco, in Arkansas, with 3 seminarian brothers, Matt, T.J. and Catesby. It was a pleasant time of prayer, reflection, rest and quiet. We were blessed to be able to pray and eat with the monks. I was so impressed with the dedication and openness of these prayerful men. The seemed very much like a group of “good old boys” who truly loved the Lord and their service to Him.
During Holy Week I have been in Pensacola, Florida visiting my friends Charlie and Jeanne Osburn. Charlie is a Catholic Lay Evangelist who has been preaching and teaching for the last 30 years. Before I entered seminary, Charlie was more or less my mentor. We have been praying, preaching, sleeping, eating and telling war stories for the last week. I have been very blessed to spend this time with them. Charlie is 74 years old and still serving the Lord. He leads a group of volunteers who prepare an Agape Meal every Wednesday night at their parish. Last Wednesday I help set up for about 285 people who were fed shrimp scampi. This morning I helped him prepare sauce and sausage for the meal they will serve next Wednesday. Tomorrow morning he has been asked to preach at a sunrise service for the Pensacola Junior Chamber of Commerce.
I was able to attend the Chrism Mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Tuesday. The seminarians from the diocese were serving and I had a chance to have lunch with 3 of them who were also in Guadalajara learning Spanish this last summer with me. It was good to see Mike, Matthew and Tim again. Making a connection with someone and then being able to unexpectedly follow up is a good thing.
We lost a good family friend on Tuesday. Henry (Hank) Huhman died at the age of 95. Hank, and his wife Marie, lived across the street from my family in Okeene since 1958. I bought my first car from him (which my brother is now restoring) and bought many gallons of gas from the station that he co-owned. Here is a picture of Hank and Marie just after my dad’s funeral in 1998.
Well, that is about all for now. Blessings to all on the Easter weekend!
It has been awhile since I have given and update and a lot has happened so here goes.
I spent time in Kansas and Oklahoma over the Christmas break with family, friends and got in a nap or two. I played for a New Years Eve dance/party at St. Bernard’s in Tulsa with John the Blessed – the band I also play with for other gigs when I am in town.
For the J-term at St. Meinrad I spent 3 weeks at the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in San Antonio in January. This was a mini-pastoral experience to learn about multiculturalism and how to better do ministry in our ever changing USA. This was quite an eye-opening time with a trip into some of the poorest parts of our country and across the border into Mexico. I will be adding a couple of posts later on this subject, so will not go into details here.
I am back in school and am really looking forward to the new semester. My classes include Christology, Intro to Homiletics, The Sacrament of Marriage, and Christian Morality and the Pursuit of Holiness. As usual there is a lot of good reading and the teachers are all excellent. I am also working at the Vibrary (an in-house video rental library), and I will continue to play in Abbey Mode – the house band for the Unstable.
My ministry also continues this semester at the Guadalupe Center teaching first communion class, a quinceanera class (a special celebration for 15 year-old Latino/Hispanic girls), and leading the music at a Spanish Mass on Sundays in Dale, IN. My time in Guadalajara last summer and at MACC have really helped me understand the culture and background of the Latino/Hispanic community, and has opened my eyes to some of their needs and how we might work together for a better US.
I was be installed as an Acolyte in the Catholic Church today. This is another step on the road to priesthood. I will be able to assist the priests and deacons at the altar during Mass in an official capacity. I can also be an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in any Catholic Church in the world. Each step is so fulfilling as I continue to walk in God’s will for my life. The picture below is of me and my classmate Gary Mayer kneeling in front of the Archbishop of Indianapolis who presided at the ceremony/Mass.
I also started a MySpace account. You can visit it at http://www.myspace.com/johntheblessed. There is not much on it yet, and this will be my main blog for posting, but now I have a MySpace presence also.
That’s about all for now. Thanks for keeping myself and all seminarians in your prayers, and also for praying for vocations to the priesthood or the religious life – both for young men and women. Your prayers are appreciated by me, all those serving the Lord in their vocations, and by the Church through which we all serve one another and the Lord.
My nephew, Luke Bunker, won his county-wide Spelling Bee. Below is the article in the Dodge City, KS newspaper.
His dad, my brother-in-law, Gene Bunker, also did something that I am proud to announce. He just received his Associates Degree after going back to college and taking classes. I am excited that he would be interested in going back to school, much like myself, after being in the work force for so many years. Gene, my hat is off to you. No article in the paper but still an important life event.
Sacred Heart student wins Ford County Spelling Bee
Picture by Michael Schweitzer/Daily Globe
Luke Bunker from Sacred Heart Middle School smiles after winning the Ford County Spelling Bee Friday afternoon at the USD 443 Learning Center.
Seated behind Bunker is Elizabeth Jenkins of Spearville Middle School, who placed second in the contest.
It has been a challenging but wonderful semester. Classes, papers and exams are now complete and it is time for a little relaxation.
I drove to St. Mary’s, Kansas last Friday to visit an old friend, Fr. Dave Imming (retired). He was my pastor when I was in Enid, OK many years ago. It was good to spend time with him. My travels have taken me to Dodge City, KS where I am at my sister’s home with her and her family. After this it will be back to my hometown of Okeene, OK for a day or so before heading back to Tulsa for the Christmas and New Year’s celebrations.
Today, December 12, is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I was blessed to visit the shrine in Mexico City this summer. Here is a picture of the image of Our Lady that she miraculously inscribed on Juan Diego’s cloak.
Lat night I attended the beginning festivities for the feast day celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City. There was about 5 hours of native Mexican dancing and music before Mass, and then 2 hours of music after Mass. There was also a procession carrying a torch from many miles away, in the cold, to the Cathedral. Here is a picture that of some of the dancers.
It was quite a joyous time, and the celebration continues today into the night. I am very appreciative of how the Latino people work very hard to keep their traditions alive, while also working hard to fit into a new culture here in America.
I pray that you have a Blessed Advent Season, a Merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year! If you are in Tulsa for New Year’s Eve, my group is playing at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church for a dance/celebration for the bringing in of 2007. You might have to call for reservations (call Virginia at 918.299.9406), but all are welcome. It looks to be a fun time!