Honoring Our Priests
Father Ted Skalsky: The presence of ‘pure caring’
I have been considering writing this tribute to Father Ted Skalsky as part of your Priest Stories series for some time now, and decided that today is the day.
Why? Because on this date 31 years ago, Father Ted witnessed the wedding vows that my dear husband Gene and I made to each other. He was the one who welcomed Gene into full communion with the Church almost 20 years later. He not only has seen us at our most joyous, but has helped us get through some of the deepest sorrows. Also, when my dear Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly 12 years ago, Father Ted gave up a rare personal day off, one for which he’d already made plans to visit an old friend, to say the words of blessing over my Dad’s burial -- his home parish did not have an available priest that day. For that, I will be forever grateful.
I tell folks that Father Ted is the best listener in the universe -- nothing can be too serious to bring before him in time of trouble or concern. You are in the presence of pure caring, with no judgment waiting in the wings. He takes very seriously his role as shepherd of his huge flock.
I recall years ago when we were still two parishes, and we had a liturgy committee meeting at the old Guadalupe rectory. Father Ted received a call from someone with an urgent need, and he was out the door without hesitation. In spite of all his many duties, time constraints, and having to deal with so much, we still hear quite often his absolutely unique, instantly recognizable, booming laugh. Father Ted Skalsky is a special man of God in my family’s book, and may he live long and prosper!
-- Karen Bunker
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe
P.S. Father Joe Bahr also concelebrated at our wedding, and was the homilist, sharing his particular talent, among many. He also ranks among my family’s favorites, and my good friend JoAnn Riese from Olmitz has already submitted a recent fitting tribute about him.
When it gets right down to it, every priest we’ve ever come across in all of our years, whether it be parish priests who baptized our sons, heard our first (and subsequent) confessions, presented us with the Holy Eucharist at Mass, presided at funerals for our dear departed, or just came over to our home now and then to shoot some hoops on our driveway with my husband (as did Father Pascal Klein), have left their mark somehow on us, their own version of anointing, as it were -- and we are the better for it and for knowing and having made that connection with them.
May the good Lord bless and keep them all. All of us need them now more than ever (after all, we do call them “Father”, and all of us are their family). Amen, and alleluia!