Father Rick Wilkinson, C.S.C. - A Priest For All SeasonsTuesday, May 31, 2011
|Father Rick Wilkinson, C.S.C.|
When I asked Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. this past Thursday, if the Sunday Mass at 10:30 would be said by Father Rick Wilkinson, C.S.C. I was deeply disappointed to find out that Father Wilkinson was away on a spiritual retreat.
It was at the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace where back in the late 50s and until 1961 we St. Ed’s High Students had attended our very own spiritual retreats. In the 2008 all-classes reunion the last day had finished with Mass at the chapel with brunch afterwards. Mass at the Chapel of Our Lady of Peace was a pleasant affair but also a sentimental one.
I sat next to my religion teacher Brother Edwin Reggio, C.S.C. and the Mass, while not in the Latin I had grown up with, was special. It was special in that there I was 49 years later with my teacher. Who would have known? It was special because the pianist could not only play the piano unusually well but he also had a wonderful baritone voice. He was accompanied by a small choir of soloists and both an electric base and guitar.
It was special because the father presiding was a young father of the Order of Holy Cross, Father Rick Wilkinson, C.S.C. His Mass did not drag and his sermon was incisive and full of intelligent humor. When I left the service I had to congratulate him. He looked at me in the eye with a smile and I was instantly a Father Wilkinson fan!
Imagine my surprise as this time around, when the Mass began, the the man who entered (now sporting a most elegant short beard) was indeed Father Wilkinson. He was back from his retreat, just in time.
I immediately whispered into the ears of my fellow classmates (all from our class of 1961), Lee Lytton, James Kulleck, Bill Hanshaw and Fernando García, that we were in for a treat. We were. Father Wilkinson began his sermon (all about Christ’s forthcoming Ascension as seen in St. John’s Gospel) with the following, “There is a Greek proverb that says, “It is impossible for a man to hide two things. One, that he is in love, the other that he is drunk.”
The final song was a glorious rendering of Julia Ward Howe’s Battle Hymn of the Republic with its original lyrics (no John Brown!) which led my friend Lee Lytton, a professor of Law at St Mary’s University in San Antonio to say, “My, my what lyrics. I had never heard this song sung quite like that! Are we now going to sing Dixie?” Dixie was not in the cards but as I went out in search of Quigley (read yesterday’s blog) I stopped to shake hands with Father Wilkinson and thought that all those who attend his Masses are truly lucky and blessed.