By Fr. Christopher Kubat
As I wind up my time at Catholic Social Services of Southern Nebraska, I reflect on the countless auction dinners I’ve done with my administrative assistant Pat Walbrecht.
On Saturday afternoon, May 4, we did our last dinner together. It was at the home of Jerry and Jean Witte from Cambridge, who will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Aug. 31. It was a dinner to thank them for their support over the years. Present also at the dinner were their children and their spouses, Sharon and Kelly Evans, Brenda and Mark Miller, Duane and Barb Phillips, and Mark and Deb Witte (who traveled in from Colorado Springs).
The hor d’oeuvres included mozzarella cheese sticks wrapped in salami; colby jack, garlic herb, pepper jack (laced with jet fuel), provolone cheeses with several kinds of crackers; a fine German riesling, moscato, and cabernet wines to start. Beautifully aged chuck roast, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, steamed carrots that tasted like candy followed. The evening was topped off with a sour cream pound cake topped with blueberries and whipped cream, oh my!
Jerry and Jean were the recipients of the 2018 Caritas Christi Award from Catholic Social Services for their lifelong love for Jesus, and for the Mystical Body of Christ which is His Church. You can tell they have been married for almost 70 years by the way they treat each other, look into each other’s eyes and that Jerry did not have to ask permission to eat the carrots off Jean’s plate.
Jean told me that every year on their anniversary they have received Holy Communion together, for 69 straight years. I told them I am very proud of them because if being Catholic was against the law, there is plenty of evidence in their home to convict them.
In the first letter of John in the New Testament, we learn that God is love and the evidence we love God is if we love our neighbor. And the evidence that we love our neighbor is if we sacrifice for them. Jerry and Jean have done just that over the years, not only for their family members but for the poor and needy not only in Nebraska but also abroad. Their love for God, each other, and their neighbor is a lasting one.
I was reminded that whenever we arrive, we bring precipitation as it started to rain. We had a little contest to guess how much there was in the rain gauge. Pat and I prayed a rosary for the winner on the drive home.
The winner was Mark Witte who knew there was a crack in the rain gauge... he won the rosary nonetheless.
I am going to miss these dinners we have taken on the road over the years. I can only scratch the surface of what Jesus experienced when he visited the many homes He did during his three years of public life.