I have often written about Fr. Dennis, Pastor of Christ the Light of the World, in Duquesne. Fr. Dennis is Pastor for the Holy Name site, the St. Hedwig site, and at the St. Joseph site. In December, 2011 after a visit to Duquesne, I posted the following:
It was 8 a.m. and we headed to Duquesne to the 8:30 Mass at St. Hedwig’s on South 5th Street. It had been drizzling that morning, so the air was filled with the familiar smells of damp fallen leaves on the sidewalks and streets. I parked across from the church on 5th Street underneath one of the majestic sycamores that line the bricked streets. Churchgoers were filing into the church and it reminded me of an idyllic Norman Rockwell illustration from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
St. Hedwig’s is the smaller of the Catholic churches in Duquesne. It offers an intimate setting for all attendees but doesn’t compromise on pure beauty. Even though I grew up in Holy Name Church, I have become very comfortable at St. Hedwig. My dad liked attending mass there and since his death, I have continued to do so as well.
To tell you the truth, it wouldn’t really matter which of the church I went to that Sunday. Since all they all had Fr. Dennis as the celebrant, they all would have been equally inspiring. For those of you who have never had the opportunity to experience attending a mass being conducted by Fr. Dennis Colamarino, you definitely need to do so.
As I sat next to my Aunt Peggy during mass on that 2nd Sunday in Advent, a thought crossed my mind. I realized that the extraordinary sense of belonging, of faith and of reverence that I was feeling was EXACTLY the same as I felt as a child when I first understood what being a Christian and a Catholic was all about. I remember how my parents were so passionate about attending mass and always seemed to be so “connected” to what was occurring. THAT’S what I felt that Sunday morning with Fr. Dennis.
To say that Fr. Dennis is captivating as a celebrant is an understatement. His personality, positive demeanor, style and speaking ability is “over the top” in a very positive way. When you couple his talents with the extraordinary musical talents of the Music Ministry members, Debbie Walters, Ray Judy and Greg Lesko, you have an experience just this side of heaven.
Fr. Dennis’ sermon contained a story about a woman who was nearing the end of her life due to a health issue. She was having a discussion with her priest about her wishes for her eventual funeral. She told her priest that she wanted to be buried in the dress she wore when she was married. The priest indicated that it should not be a problem. She then indicated that she wanted to have the song, On Eagle’s Winds, sung at her funeral. Again, no problem. Her final request took the priest aback however. She told him that she wanted to be buried with a fork in her hand. The woman explained. “My mother once told me a story that I never forgot and I have tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. Here’s her story:
“In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew something better was coming . . . like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful and with substance!’
So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, “What’s with the fork? Then I want you to tell them, “Keep your fork . . . the best is yet to come.”
What a wonderful way to begin my visit to Duquesne. Thanks Fr. Dennis.
I received some very sad news yesterday from my friend Lou Andriko, whose mother, Betty Andriko, had attended Sunday morning Mass at St. Joe’s. It was the type of news that hits you like a ton of bricks.
“Mom called me and said Fr. Dennis announced at Mass on Sunday morning, April 7th, that he has been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, i.e. ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) with extensive involvement of most of his voluntary motor functions; prognosis is poor, perhaps a 3 yr. survival….
With Bishop’s permission, he plans to remain at Holy Name and minister as long as possible and remain in Duquesne even afterwards until he passes.”
So many of us have been fortunate enough to witness the exuberance of the celebration of Mass with Fr. Dennis. His ability to make the congregation feel involved and joyous about Mass is unparalleled. Many of you moved from Duquesne prior to Fr. Dennis’ arrival, but may have been members of the parish that he currently shepherds or family members who still are part of the congregation. Those of other faiths should take solace in the fact that Fr. Dennis has embraced Duquesne as his home and the entire community as his family.
For those reasons, and countless more, we all need to pull together and inundate our Lord and Savior with thousands of prayers on behalf of Fr. Dennis. We need to create a virtual Duquesne Deluge of prayers petitioning our Father in Heaven to provide strength and healing for Fr. Dennis and those responsible for his care. Together, with a concerted effort, we can provide love, hope and comfort to Fr. Dennis.
I invite all of you to post your thoughts and prayers for Fr. Dennis in the comment section of this post. The love and spirit that each of you have felt and shown for our hometown can certainly be demonstrated now with your prayers and petitions.
In the Sunday bulletin this weekend, Fr. Dennis posted a “Letter from the Pastor’s Desk” that I thought was especially meaningful. In light of the announcement he was about to make and the news that he had received, I found his strength and determination inspiring:
From the Pastor’s Desk – Christ the Light of the World Parish
Posted on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 04:01PM –
1. Throw out the non-essential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. 2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. If you really need a grouch, there probably are family members who fill that need. 3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Just never let the brain get idle. 4. Enjoy the simple things. When the children are young, that is all that you can afford. When they are in college, that is all you can afford. When they are grown, and you are on retirement, that is all that you can afford. 5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. Laugh so much that you can be tracked in a store by your distinctive laughter. 6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, move on. The only person who is with us our entire lives, is ourselves. 7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, etc. Your home is a refuge. 8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help. 9. Don’t take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country, but not guilt. 10. Tell the people you love, that you love them, at every opportunity.
Remember, life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take but measured by what takes our breath away. – Fr. Dennis
In you would like to contact Fr. Dennis, the parish contact information is as follows:
Christ the Light of the World Parish
32 South First Street – Duquesne, PA 15110
We certainly had something special and we now miss it more than ever. It’s all reduced to a good memory.
I am speechless. So beautiful.
Thank you for this blog. I love reading your entries , as well as, your late Dad’s. Cheryl Oxford
Sent from my iPhone from Cheryl Oxford
It is with heavy heart that I say to everyone here that Father Dennis passed away this past Saturday 21March, 2015, her was only 67 years old. The same age as me, I might add. I am a member of the church, though lately a heathen, I haven’t gone since he was dianosed with ALS. I didn’t want to be like a lot of the morbid people out there looking on while a person slowly dies, and ALS is nasty way to go! It’s hard to watch the disease take it’s course on a once vibrant man. I’m not a catholic, I’m a Episcopalian and have been one since my birth. I was having mental problems many moon ago & I went to see my pastor at my church in McKeesport. That church was locked up tighter than a drum. I needed to talk to someone & on the way back home I drove past Holy Name church. I saw father dennis out on the porch from my truch. Thinking, what the heck, why not. I parked the truck & went to see if I could talk to him. To this day I tear up thinking about it. He took the time to hear me out. And, even told me that I could enter the church anytime to pray, whenever I wanted. OMG! Did he help me soooooo much, then. Later on (much later) I went to see him & asked about joining the church. He told me that I could as long as I was catholic. I told him I wasn’t. He asked me what I was & I told him that I was a WASP!! All, he said was, Ohhhh God!! Not another one!! We both had a loud laugh on that one. Long story short, I’m still a WASp but I belong to a catholic church. Fr.Dennis didn’t care what faith you were or how you dressed, if you wanted to go to his church all were welcome.
Goodbye, my friend & my pastor, I hope we meet up again one day.
God bless Father Dennis. His bracelet is on my bureau.
I have never met Fr. Dennis but he truly seems to be a true man of God, I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers. My family has been entwined with St. Joes probably since it started and I’m sure he has touched many if not all of them. God keep Fr. Dennis in your comforting embrace as he has been a true beacon of your love and light.
My son and his family attended mass at Holy Name last weekend and told me that Fr. Dennis was having much difficulty getting around. None of us live near Duquesne anymore so we were unaware of his illness. We will keep him in our prayers. I attended Holy Name School in the 50s and early 60s and we lived in Duquesne when our children were small. Although we left the area in 1981, we visited often while we still had family there. Fr. Dennis was very good to my Mom. The last time I saw him was when she was buried from Holy Name in 2005. I, too, was inspired many times by his lively homilies and the response of the worshipers.
Father Dennis restored my faith…. I was deployed in Iraq 03-04, Afghanistan 07-08…… I cant go into details, but I blamed god for a lot of what I saw or what I did. He also married me. He still helps me, my wife deserves better then me, she really does, but he helped convince me she is my reason for being here. I should of died atleast 6 times, to be honest I didn’t care if I died or not. Now I care because I cant imagine leaving my wife and my unborn son. I once called father
Dennis at 4 in the morning, he was there for me yet again. I pray for him everyday, I want to blame god again, a guy dedicates his life to god and this is what happens to me. Yes I was an American soldier and served this country proudly, but I am not proud of some the the things I had to do, even in confession I could see how shocked he was, most of it classified so I cant about it any way, but he told me never to tell no one, what I am saying I do not deserve what god has given me. But Father
Dennis wouldn’t want me to blame god, so I wont.
Meant to say what happens to him
The prayers for Fr. Dennis are working – there is a flicker of hope. http://www.christthelightoftheworld.org/from-the-pastors-desk/
My husband & I met Father Dennis nearly 20 years ago as college students from CMU who were invited to the then-Holy Name Church with a friend who grew up in Duquesne. My husband was confirmed by Fr. Dennis in the RCIA program, and bought a house in the neighborhood. We went on to be engaged & married at CLOW, and three of our 4 children were baptized there before we moved out to Emsworth. In the 7 or so years since we have been away, we have yet to find a homilist or music ministry who helps us to worship more meaningfully; at the same time, in our current parish, we are ever connected to our faith & closer to Jesus because of our relationship with Father Dennis and our membership in CLOW. His inspirational leadership and true friendship has helped us to grow into healthy, reasonably emotionally balanced adult Catholics, and the positive impact he has had on our life cannot possibly be measured. Although this diagnosis is heart-wrenching, we trust in God’s mercy & love – and we will pray, pray, and pray some more (and try to send him a funny card or a bottle of wine now and then!), and I think we’ll be packing everyone up for the drive out to Duquesne on a more regular basis. New to this blog but will enjoy catching up!
Welcome to the blog Jennifer and for your thoughtful recollections. I’m sure Fr. Dennis is as lucky to have you and your family in his life as your are to have in yours! – Jim
Father Dennis wrote me a very nice Thank-you note. please keep us advised of his condition.
We’ve know Father Dennis for 29 years. He married us and baptized Jess. I went to Holy Name Parish in 1983 because I was Church shopping. I didn’t get anything out of the other Church’s I Worshiped at. Larry was already registered there and he told me I have to give Holy Name a try so I did. When Church was over I walked out with a feeling I’ve never felt before. I felt so enriched, so inspired, so Spiritual and so full of Admiration. I’ve never heard any Priest speak Homilies like you Father Dennis. They are so meaningful. It was then, I knew my search was over. When I first met you at the Rectory to discuss our Marriage classes, I felt like I’ve known you for years. You made us feel so comfortable. That’s the type of person you are. You are truly an example of what a Priest should be. We are so saddened to hear of your diagnosis. Please know that you are being lifted up in prayer and that you are in our daily thoughts. May God Bless You!
Fr. Dennis, I went to your church on Thanksgiving as I was visiting my cousin Diane, a faithful member. I was so impressed with the spirit you created at the service and it was obvious that that spirit was also throughout your ministry. Years ago, I went to St. Joseph’s for a sad occasion and left rather angry because the minister at the time never acknowledged the wonderful special qualities of my beloved who had died. Instead, he focused on praying for her sinful soul in purgatory so she could get to Heaven. I have carried that heavy memory for decades. My visit on Thanksgiving gave me hope that the church could be more loving and kind to the deceased and families. May you enjoy retirement and have the energy and time to do some of the things you have not had time to do. “Everyone once, once only. Just once and no more. And we are also once. Never again. But this having been once, although only once, to have been of the earth, seems irrevocable”. Rilke. It is also a miracle to have been “once” on this earth and to be eternal as well.
Father Dennis, your light shines all the way to San Diego! I enjoy hearing that you take such great care of my childhood parish, St. Joseph’s. We will never stop praying for you. Is there a miracle in your future?
Anne Fox Petry
St Joseph School–Class of 1966
would you be Grace Anne Fox ?
Yes, indeed, I would love to hear from you!
Loving, sympathetic, understanding and just totally awesome…. Yes, this is the Father Dennis that we have all come to love and respect in his 30 year ministry in Duquesne. At times you would wonder if Father Dennis was a twin or even a triplet, he seemed to be everywhere. It was amazing how Father D would show up when the Community of Duquesne were in need of his shoulder to cry on or, his commanding yet, empathetic demeanor. When my late husband ran as a Paramedic in Duquesne he would come home after a tragic call, accident or even a catastrophic fire. He would then tell me that Father Dennis arrived on the scene and everyone there would feel his calming spirit as he assisted in any way he could. Father Dennis helped my children and I through a very,very difficult time when my husband Gary was diagnosed with ALS. He is our pastor, our rock and most of all, our friend. He brought inner peace to my husband and ALWAYS knew what to say to us to ease our pain and heartache. After a very horrific incident with Gary (an obstructed airway), I had a fleeting thought that “should I just let hime go?” But, my nurse’s training kicked in and I cleared his airway. I had a hard time dealing with that fleeting thought and it was always on my mind. I spoke to Father Dennis about it and his question to me was “why didn’t you let him go?” I was kind of taken aback by his comment and I could not give him an answer to this question. Father Dennis then said to me that “Gary will go in his time and God’s time not before.”.. Well, that is exactly what transpired about 7 months later. Gary decided to stop eating. Father Dennis came to our home 3 or 4 times during Gary’s last 7 days on earth. Even though my husband was in a restless, semi-comatose state, whenever Father D would let Gary know he was there to pray with us, Gary would become calm. Yes, he knew that his buddy Father Dennis was there for him and his family. Many of the hospice nurses were amazed at his genuine caring and concern for his “flock”. When Gary passed, Father knew what to say to ease our broken hearts. At Gary’s funeral Mass, the church was full of EMS, Fire Dept and Police members and of course our family members, medical friends and hospice staff. Father’s homily brought tears to everyone’s eyes that day. He spoke from his heart and everyone in church was touched by his heartfelt words and comforting spirit. He even honored a request of one of the Medics who was a dear friend and had Debbie and Ray sing the song “Goodbye my Friend”. There shall NEVER be another Father Dennis. It is now our time to care for “OUR SHEPARD” . Father Dennis, please know that my family and I are here for you. Whatever you may need, a ride to an appointment, an ear to listen or a sounding board – just call. I know that the request for a deluge of prayers will circle the globe
. Hopefully, God will then understand just how much Father Dennis (The Bishop of Duquesne) means to so many,many people. Hopefully, Father will then go in “HIS TIME AND GOD’S TIME” after a long, long life free of pain and disease . Have hope and believe….. MIRACLES DO HAPPEN !
Dearest Father Dennis, May God Bless you and love you as we do.
Rosemarie and Family
Rosemarie, your words are so moving and so poignant! Thank you for share such personal thoughts with all of us. Please, on behalf of all of us who cannot be there at Fr. Dennis’ side during this journey, hold his hand for us and let him know how much he is loved.
I am so devastated about the news of Fr. Dennis. I have come to know Father as a very dear friend over the past 7-8 years in working closely wth him at the breast cancer benefit and other events. His extreme zest for life and humor in everyday living is infectious and we are all so sad about the prospects of what he faces. I know he will walk with God in his difficult journey, looking to the Heavenly Father for guidance, comfort and grace. My fervent prayers and well wishes are with you, Fr. Dennis, in the coming days and months. Sending love and hugs!
Praying for Fr. Dennis and Holy Name church families. May God bless Fr.Dennis with extra strength to endure the days ahead. Holy Name was my church for 3 yrs. while living in Duquesne, and I do attend when I return Home for a visit.
Dear Father Dennis, I have never met you, But I will be praying for you! I was very inspired by the writings on this page. I received a messsage to pray for you from a friend on facebook. I will share this with my prayer warrior friends also. God Bless you!
It is a devastating diagnosis for someone who is full of life and has breathed life into our Parish. Thank God he is in the right place that is full of love for him. We will all be praying that his health holds out for as long as possble. Miracles happen at Christ the Light of the World Parish and I believe that we can get one now if we bombard heaven with our prayers. God Bless you Fr. D.
Love, Lori D. Achtzehn
Who doesn’t remember theTrainor family from West Mifflin. I remember Mary Lou as the prettiest girl in Duquesne High School. I also remember a girl, can’t think of her name, who was in Real estate…Fr. Dennis was unique, no one like him.
I just read your posting about Fr. Dennis. I have prayed for a healing for this man of God. He certainly seems like he has touched many lives in a most loving way. Thanks for informing us, so that we may offer up abundant prayers,
HI Cheryl, I heard you made it to the 50th and sorry I missed you. I remember our daily walks to school. I hope you are well. tom lane
Fr. Dennis, you have taught me so much and for that I am grateful. May God give you strength to go through this journey. I pray every minute for a miracle for you. I wish you peace
I beieve that this is the Father Dennis I knew many years ago who had a brief stay at St. Paulinus Church is Clairton. He would assist Father Connelly and Father Parsons. He was ordained in the 1970’s and I was lucky enough to have attended his ordination. God Bless You Father Dennis.
My prayers go out to u Father Dennis.
My husband & I joined the Holy Name Parish back in 1985. We had gone to his cousin’s funeral. Richard was only 13. We couldn’t believe how spirtural we felt when we came out of Richey’s funeral. Father Dennis, you gave us hope when we had no hope over the years with your wonderful homilys. You gave our son 1st Holy Communion & he made Confirmation. You are in my thoughts & prayers. Peace be with you.
I had the pleasure of being back in town a week ago for Easter, and attended Mass at Holy Name (Christ The Light of The World Parish). It was one of the most unique Masses that I have ever attended in my life. I am so sorry to hear about the unfortunate news about Father Dennis. May God Bless him and be with him on this journey.
Fr.Dennis is in our Prayers . What an Amazing ,Wonderful Person. He truly is an Inspiration!! I Pray that God gives you Strength through this Journey ahead of you. And for you to know that the WHOLE community is thinking and Praying also. We Love you Fr.Dennis !!
I do not know Father Dennis but I pray that he will be healed.
http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/07/05/orthodox-rabbi-may-be-first-als-patient-cured-by-israeli-drug/ Positive news out of Israel on this rotten disease, to give hope.
Fr. Dennis… You are in our thoughts and prayers..you are truly a blessing to my family and our Parish…. We Love You!
Melissa, Joe, Dylan and Alex.
Father Dennis is one of a kind, I will keep him in my prayers. He has certainly kept me in his through the years. I love Father Dennis.
Quoting what Kathleen Jasek said earlier times the stars in the heavens
“May the Lord bless you Father Dennis. You are the “BEST” of the “BEST”!! We are stormin’ heaven with prayers for you”.
I’ll pray for Father Dennis, and all who love him, too.
Like so many others from the Burgettstown area, Father Dennis baptized me almost 34 years ago….Ironically, many of us that he had baptized in Burgettstown have managed to follow or remain in contact with him even after all these years…He has for so many years been our “rock” in times of tragedy and in celebration…Knowing Father Dennis makes me think that his greatest lecture has yet to occur….My thoughts and prayers are with him….
This news was very upsetting to me,but I prayed and had a feeling come over me. Father Dennis knows that I’m a survior of breast cancer, I will never give up and I know My Father Dennis will fight to the end.My prayers and thoughts will always be there for you and God will Bless you.
Father Dennis baptized me 32 years ago and drew me to Duquesne as an adult to worship with his unbelievable parish family. He is an amazing man and has touched so many lives in a positive way. I am heartbroken by the news of his diagnosis, but know that he will continue to serve as an example to all of us – no matter the situation. It’s our turn to be there for him the way he’s been there for us. May our prayers, happy thoughts and well-wishes lift him up and offer comfort. He is truly loved and cherished by so many. I am lucky to call him both my friend and my pastor. May God bless Father Dennis!
Tara, your comment was beautifully written and expresses how so many of us feel about Fr. Dennis. I live in Ocean Pines, MD, but look forward to each visit to Duquesne to celebrate my faith with Fr. Dennis!
The outpouring of love for Fr. Dennis has been so incredible. Please keep your prayers coming. Thank you Jim for this beautiful post on your blog. He means so much to all of us.
How many of my family and my husbands family did you marry and bury. You came to give last rites to my dad on Jan. 30th. I remember the look on my mother’s face when you walked thru the door. All would be well now because Fr Dennis is here. I remember that you needed a ride to get to Kane that day because you were having trouble walking. I didn’t know how sick you were. I thought maybe you had gout. We love you and hope for a miracle. We are all better for having you in our lives. That’s why you can’t leave us. Hear our prayers and feel our love Father. Get well for us.
May the Lord bless you Father Dennis. You are the “BEST” of the “BEST”!! We are stormin’ heaven with prayers for you:):)
I just met with my Cousin from California on Saturday and he had terrible news. He is also suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease and he had such a different attitude, he has acknowledged the fact that this will be his life from now on. I pray for him and now I read about Father Dennis of whom I do not know and I am amazed by him and I will pray for him also. From the blog he has a lot of people who love him so he must be a inspiration to all. I pray for God to take care of him and my cousin.
Father Dennis is a fighter, and with our love, support, and prayers, he will handle this.
Pam Trainor Hurst-Va Beach, Va
Fr. Dennis first made an impact on me many years ago when I attended Mother’s Day mass with my mom. He sang Mama and I was moved and so very glad I made the trip from Virginia Beach to spend time with my mom. He has since officiated at the final mass for my dad, mom, sister and brother-in-law. The Trainor Family from West Mifflin is now spread across the country…..so be assured prayers are coming from Boston to San Siego with Virginia Beach, Kansas City, Michigan,and Scottsdale in between and our prayers will continue.
I lived in Campbell circle until the 3rd grade, then moved to Duquesne and Holy Name was my church for 3 years. I have since been back to West Mifflin for family visits and have gone to Holy Name Church and listened to Fr. Dennis. I pray that he will have the strength to endure this disease. I also have a special friend in Flordia that has LGD and he was diagnosed 9 yrs. ago. He is a believer of God and his teachings, and God is good to him. May God bless all of his church family.
My thoughts and prayers are with Father Dennis. May God Bless You.
I havent been in the area for quite sometime but I always thought of Holy name as my church since going there when i started school many years ago. I am sadden to hear the news about Father Dennis but I will keep him in my prayers . God will be with you Father Dennis with every step of this journey that you travel
I have met Father Dennis through the breast cancer fund raiser that is held every year. Also I have been to two of his funeral masses. I am not Catholic not do I belong to a church BUT if I decided to join the Catholic church, I would travel miles to belong to his church. He brings joy to religion and to life. He is truly an example of what a priest should be.
I know that when Fr. Dennis enters heaven God will say Welcome Bishop of Duquesne, Pennsylvania, job well done. Now it is time to rest in my arms. Are prayers and thoughts are with you Fr. Dennis.
I will be praying for Fr. Dennis. I am sure there is not a dry eye for anyone reading this blog, today. My mother loved Fr. Dennis. He was so kind to her. He buried her and my brother, Patrick. He single handedly kept three churches from closing. I never knew how he managed that task. I wish him the best. Colleen Byrne Travis
I will keep Fr. Dennis in my prayers. I saw him a few years ago at Malloy Funeral Home when he gave a blessing for Helen Lancas Sloss. I spoke with him then and I always thought of him as a caring, loving priest.
Fr. Dennis has helped our family through many, many rough spots. Our prayers can help him through this. And what a gift to the city of Duquesne! He arrived with his positive attitude just as the mills were closing and everybody was on the verge of giving up.
Prayers are coming to you from Binghamton, Fr. Dennis, and from all around the world, I’m sure!
I am very sorry to hear about Father Dennis’ situation. I always remember that he was good to my Mom, and always made both of us giggle. My thoughts go out to him.
Hang in there Father Dennis!!!! xo
Our prayers are with Fr. Dennis and his congregation. He visited us here in Rehoboth a few years ago and we thought of him as a good friend as well as spiritual advisor. He enjoyed coming to Rehoboth for his summer vacations and I can still see his beautiful smile when I answered his knock at our front door. Thank you Jim, for letting us know this devastating news.
I was in the ‘Burgh visiting my mom this past weekend and took her to 0900 Mass at St. Joe’s yesterday. Fortunately, a friend of mine called the night before and told me this news so my mom could get prepared for his news.
Believe me there was not a dry eye in the congregation. It took a lot of courage for him to be so honest at the pulpit yesterday and it hurt to see him cry and realize the loss for him and everyone he has touched.
He said he has been in Duquesne for 30 years! I belonged to St. Hedwig parish growing up. It is a testimony to his leadership that he has been able to keep all three churches open (pastor of St. Hedwig’s and Holy Name) and administrator of St. Joe’s and created the spiritual environment of Christ the Light of the World Parish. Here in the Cleveland area we have experienced so many church closings over the last few year.
He summed it up at the end of Mass by saying “we are all in transition and this is transition. Just not the way I wanted it to be.” IMHO, he will experience much love, support and fortitude through all those that he has touched–now taking care of him and the churches he loves.
Many prayers for him on his journey.
Garalynn Vranick Tomas
I am truly sorry to hear the news about Fr. Dennis. I will certainly keep him in my prayers for God to sustain him and give him the strngth he needs to cope with his illness. May God bless him always.
I have enjoyed reading about Father Dennis from 1,700 miles away. My prayers and thoughts are with him.
Will be praying for Father D and his congregation. Father Dennis has been part of my sister’s life for 40 years and has been to several of our family functions. He is a wonderful man and this is such dad news. My hope is that he will be at peace.