Father Bill’s last mass

Father Bill’s last mass at St. Therese mirrored the man.  Casual and unassuming, still pious and profound, the mass and the priest celebrated the joy of genuine faith and sweetly tended friendship.

“How do you treat a new pair of shoes?” he asked in his homily. “You break them in patiently. You treat them with care.”

Though our current pair of shoes remains beloved and has plenty of good miles left in his sole/soul, we at St. Therese will be getting a fresh pair this week. Fresh is good, except no one here wants to say good bye to the priest we’ve had for the past 14 years.

Father Bill has been reassigned to St. Phillip Parish in Green Bay, where he single-handedly will replace four priests assigned to the parish on a part-time basis, and a pastoral leader.

A Catholic Superman with a contagious guffaw and a freezer full of chicken soup collected from parishioners during a recent bout with the flu, Father Bill, no doubt, is up to the task. Bilingual and unfailingly kind, he gracefully negotiated the occasionally perilous waters of our newly bilingual parish with a sly tip of his optimistic Cubs hat, and an open invitation to his card table.

An Oz sense of life and color seeped into the church with Father Bill’s arrival. The church pews filled with families and those old walls hummed with song.

Our stoic, German parishioners welcomed immigrants from Mexico and Micronesia and, to their delicious casseroles and potato salad, added tamales and coconut curry. St. Therese may have become the tastiest parish in the diocese.

Our community feted Father over the weekend, with masses, celebrations, songs, dances and a going away party that lasted all afternoon.

But, Molly and I ducked in to say our good byes yesterday morning, during weekday mass, Father Bill’s last in Appleton.

We welcomed the privilege of praying with him and, though we intend to pop in to St. Philips from time to time, we also most sincerely wanted to thank him for the legacy he leaves behind.

The last lines of the Catholic mass seemed especially appropriate yesterday as we said them with the small congregation assembled there.

“Go in peace to serve the Lord.”

“Thanks be to God.”


Father Bill has been Molly’s priest since she was three-years old. He was the priest at her First Communion.

Father Bill

He kindly said a prayer at Vince’s investiture 

Father Bill's last mass 002

I snapped a few pics at Father Bill’s last mass at St. Therese (which he noticed and mentioned in his homily. Whoops.)

Father Bill's last mass 009

The last mass may have been less crowded than all of the pew-filling celebratory masses, but it was no less sincere. 

Father Bill's last mass 012

At the heart of everything is a profound faith…

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…and a delightful sense of fun. This is Father Bill modeling a furry gift from a parishioner. He’ll be nice and warm in Green Bay.

Family pic

We popped into Father Bill’s rocking good bye party Sunday afternoon. We’re smiling here, but we’re very sad to see him go. 


About Molly B and Me

Welcome to Molly B and Me! This is a blog written by a 50-year-old mother of four with help and recipe contributions from her 16-year-old youngest daughter. Follow us as we struggle with our six-foot by 2-foot garden that has never really grown anything but turnips. We like to spin a yarn, but we can't knit at all. We're pretty good cooks, which works out well because we like to eat. We're avid sports fans and we especially enjoy football. We'll introduce you to our neighbors, including Connie the Cookie Lady and Macy the three-legged dog. Check back for recipes and tips.

Posted on July 1, 2016, in The people in our neighborhood, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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