Easily the very finest priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
And one of the very finest priests the Church in the New World has ever produced.
A mystic. Holiest guy I have ever come to know. He has the diligence of prayer. He is very good at being a priest.
In high school we saw him make his daily hour each morning in the crypt chapel of the Church of St. Agnes. Such a witness it was to all of us high school students next door.
He was my spiritual director and confessor. I was his altar server. Best confessor I ever had. My penance was always the same: "Say one Hail Mary, VERY well."
He taught me mental prayer. No one else had ever explained to me how mental prayer works.
Best preacher I have ever heard anywhere on the planet earth. And nicest guy. He even came to my home a couple of times when I was in college to hang out with myself and some fellow seminarians. Another time he came to bless the home. Always there for people.
He has always been available to give counsel and this is very important for a priest withcura animarum. And the best counsel he gave. This is where he saved souls. And many of the souls who came to him were more advanced in the spiritual life. And he knew how to take this into consideration - where people were at.
He helped me choose the right college. He even taught a course I took in high school. He was the most talented teacher on the staff at St. Agnes High School. Everyone's favorite. His daily Mass was at 6 am. It was a comfort to know he was near.
Can I sum him up in one word? Yes, holy. A second word? Yes, wise. I never once saw him angry, rude or mean. He has made a lot of converts. In fact, he has more converts under his belt than any parish priest I know. Just ask around.
I made my first good confession as an adult to him in the mountains of Colorado in 1993 and I will forever be grateful to him. Afterwards he shook my hand with a big smile. He had just given one of the best sermons on Confession I have ever heard before or since and he gave me wise spiritual counsel that day.
Sadly, though, the good guys always suffer. And they are quiet about it. Just read the lives of the saints. Misunderstandings come their way. They are maligned, they are victims of calumny, they are falsely accused, blamed and lied about. Priest AND victim.
But in this suffering lies their sanctification. Suffering is necessary for sanctification. Rev. and dear Father, thank you for all that you have given me. In fact, I wish you a life of great suffering, because in that crucible you will find your sanctification. Keep doing the Lord's work. Your spiritual sons and daughters are many.
May God be praised for his saints!