Diocesan News

‘Throwback Thursday’ clippings feature priestly wisdom from the past

Story by S.L. Hansen

LINCOLN (SNR) – “Throwback Thursday” is a fun activity that has become popular on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The idea is to post an old photo and comment on it for others to enjoy. Throwback Thursday posts are searchable through the hashtag #tbt or #throwbackthursday.

For several weeks, the Diocese of Lincoln has been posting old clippings from the Southern Nebraska Register as part of “Throwback Thursday.” Each clipping features a quote from a local priest and his photo in a feature that was originally sponsored by the Serra Club. Sister Anne Joelle, C.K., principal of St. Teresa School in Lincoln, found them and shared them with the Register.

For example, the clipping featuring Father John Zastrow includes his message, “The greatest adventure possible to a man is to discover what God wants him to do and then to strive with all his strength to do it. And that is the life of a priest.”

Father Zastrow, who was ordained in 1956, is now retired and lives at Bonacum House. He said he doesn’t remember making that statement, but thoroughly agrees with it.

“Somebody else must have said it,” he joked. “It’s pretty well said.”

Father William Kalin, ordained in 1958, was pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Brainard when he said, “The purpose of life is to do God’s will. Pray that you may know God’s will for you.”

Reminded of his statement all these years later in his comfortable apartment at Bonacum House, Father Kalin deadpanned, “That must have been some saint. Are you sure that you didn’t take that off a book?”

After assurances that he really did make the statement, Father Kalin laughed heartily. “That’s when I was holy!”

He still agrees with the concept of praying to know God’s will, however. That’s how he’s lived his entire life as a priest.

His classmate, Father Paul Rutten, was also featured by the Serra Club. 

“A seminarian must have good health and average intelligence,” Father Paul Rutten was quoted. “But most of all, he must have a love for Christ.”

Now that he is retired, Father Rutten finds his quote a bit mystifying.

“When and why did I ever say something like that?” he asked, a bit chagrined. “I haven’t been a seminarian for a long, long time, so I have no idea what seminarians need now, but I would think it would require a lot more than average intelligence.”

He added, “I’m sure Father [Jeffrey] Eickhoff would tell you those men are highly intelligent.”

Msgr. Adrian Herbek’s quote was featured while he was pastor at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Wahoo. He said, “Don’t be like Paul and wait until you are knocked off a horse before you answer the call of Christ.”

Ordained in 1959, Msgr. Herbek is also retired and living at Bonacum House. He chuckled when his quote was repeated back to him.

“That’s kind of a favorite story of mine, Paul falling off his horse,” he admitted.

He continues to offer that advice, though perhaps not so colorfully.

“Answer the call, you don’t have to wait until something drastic happens, he said, admitting, “I guess some people probably need that to wake them up.”

Follow the Catholic Diocese of Lincoln on Facebook to see more of the wisdom of priests from years gone by.

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