Reunion III at Camp De Sales
August 27, 28, 29, 2015
To the Wild Geese:
None of us are getting any younger; and it’s already the month of July.
As with previous meetings, our hope is to re-connect with the men who were nurtured in the Salesian legacy and legend. We’re confident that our getting together provides opportunities to replenish spirits by drawing from the wellspring of cordial bonds forged while in the corps, and never forgotten.
Memories do tend to blur and fade. So by sharing our stories and the events of our lives, we’re able to reweave these threads into a living fabric that enfolds yesterday and today, the old and new.
Finally, but no less important, food and drink promise to be in ample and varied supply. Tony Sutton will be baking and serving aroma-seductive “Beetle Buns” – in themselves worth the price of admission.
But whatever reasons might resonate with you, your presence is sincerely wished for.
The lodging at Camp de Sales, which is now used for retreats and group meetings, is up to date, clean and comfortable.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
3:00pm Check In: light refreshments in the Registration Hall at Lawrence Lodge
5:30pm Gaudeamus followed by Dinner
Friday, August 28, 2015
9:00am Liturgy (optional)
1:00pm Keynote Address by Fr. Ken McKenna, followed by Q&A
5:30pm Prayer Service at Scholasticate Memorial Plaque
Saturday, August 29, 2015
9:00am Liturgy (optional)
Exoblate Attendees: Oblate Attendees:
Frank DeMilde Rev. Bill Auth
Dick Doll Rev. Richard Eberle
Jim Douglas Rev. John Graden
Dr. Richard Fell Rev. Tom Helfrich
Rev. John Friel Rev. John Lindsay
Ron Kotz Rev. Jim McHugh
Bill Maher Rev. Ken McKenna
Bill Mittendorf Bro. Frank Murray
Jim Murphy Rev. Paul Ruddy
Tim Pilat Rev. Bob Schramm
WELCOME REMARKS OF BILL MITTENDORF
XOSFS REUNION III
CAMP de SALES
Good Evening and welcome confreres, XOblates and Oblates. Reunion III!
Hard to believe we have been at this for about five years. Reunion I here in 2011. Reunion II at Malvern in 2012. Special thanks to the Committee: Frank, Ron, Tony, Don, and Tim Pilat. To Frs: McKenna, Greenfield, and McHugh, thank you for your efforts and support of the Reunion.
This past June, I had the opportunity to be here at Camp a give a talk to the novices about Oblate life in the 50's and 60's. More about that later. In short, it was hard for them to fathom life as an Oblate in our days! I concluded my remarks by telling them how proud we XOblates were of their answer to the call of the Oblate way of life.
At the end of my talk, I drove over to the area at Camp where the Chapel stood. You may have noticed that it is no longer. Walking among the ruins near the old fireplace, I noticed buried in the rubble and barely visible an envelope, yellowed with age, slightly torn open, and covered with brick and mortar dust. There was writing on the envelope barely legible. I made it out. It read:
To: The XSFS Reunion III
From: The Chapel
I opened the envelope and found this letter in handwritten ink. It reads:
" Dear XOSFS Reunion III. My builders, your confreres in OSFS of old arrived here at Camp de Sales in the summer of 1948 from the east in the green hornet driven by Fr. Shugrue. A trip that took over 24 hours. By July of that summer, my builders had built 9 cabins plus my Chapel. Later in 1949, a newly ordained Fr. Earley built my altar. I stood here at Camp for some 66 years, serving as the center for Mass, Eucharist, and meditation by those of you who spent summers with me. I also served as a place for campers to meet and sit in front of my fireplace singing camp songs. I had a distinct odor for some reason which remained with me all of my years. I am now no longer, having met my demise by the wrecking ball, after suffering years of rot and decay. Ah, yes! Old Age!
I remember you well. Your daily visits in early morning for prayer and meditation, clad in your black cassocks and white collars. I welcome you tonight to this Reunion III! Somehow, I knew you would come. You would answer a call to be here just as you answered the call to religous life as an Oblate many years ago when you were young, enthusiastic, and full of energy. Those early days as Oblates were the beginnings of a journey. Your journey of life! All of you had the same dreams and goals. Somewhere along the Oblate journey, you answered another call to leave. Your goals and dreams changed. You went back into the world of unknowns, doubt, anxiety, lack of structure. Where were you going? How do you get there? You changed directions. Change is life lived! You left the life, the only one you had known. Left your confreres. Many of you after departure, forgot about your Oblate past. You embarked on a new journey, a career. For some, marriage, children, grandchildren. Some remained in the priesthood. Ups and downs of life were experienced!
Did you completely forget about your Oblate past? I can assure you that I never forgot about you and your contribution to Oblate life. You were and still are a unique gift to OSFS.I think you are here today to rekindle in some way that part of your life; to reconnect with your confreres of old; to share your stories and journeys of life. Tempus fugit! You have no agenda but simply to be present to one another. As the psalmist says:" Behold how good it is for brothers to dwell together as one."
In closing, I charge you with a mission. You are the archivists/custodians of past Oblate life. Preserve it, remember, revisit, recall, reunite it! If you don't, who will? Most of OSFS from your days of old lie in rest at Childs or Toledo. OSFS needs you. You were a special Oblate like no other and still are a special XOSFS. Keep the storied past alive. Enjoy your time together. Remember your confreres in OSFS and XOSFS living and deceased. Pray that one day I will be rebuilt here at Camp de Sales and that young Oblates in formation will spend summers with me as you did. "
Signed: The Chapel
Postscript: These names appeared among the Builders: Frs: Shugrue, Stahl, Niedermier, Fuqua. Scholastics: William Kenney, James McGuire, John Doyle, John McGoldrick, John Nees, Bill Seelaus, Bob Ashenbrenner, Bob Diekman, Jim Lewandowski, Ed Kuefer, Larry Duggan, and Br. Bill Kelleher.
Source of historical data taken from: "A Star Arose in the West" by James Sottek, OSFS
XOSFS REUNION III
CAMP de SALES
AUGUST 27- 29, 2015
SUMMARY NOTES OF THE EVENT
We had a total of 23 at the Event. Rod Tomczak was scheduled to come but could not due to his brother-in-law having to undergo emergency surgery. The weather was great. The food was terrific! Jimmie Garland, the Camp caterer, prepared the meals assisted by his staff. Tony Sutton along with wife Kathy did their usual superior job with snacks, Beetle buns, beer, wine, and other beverages, which we all enjoyed at the Gaudeamus and during the days after. Many Thanks, Tony and Kathy!! The accomodations at Lawrence Lodge worked out very well. Each had his own private room.
Fr. Ken addressed the group on Friday and spoke of where the T-D province was today, including formation, finances, etc. His talk was followed by a Q & A session. We had a memorial service at the Beetle plaque and Scholasticate plaque on Friday evening before dinner. We remembered by name all deceased OSFS and XOSFS since January, 2014. A boat ride on Vineyard Lake followed dinner with Captain Frank Murray at the helm. A beautiful evening!
We had Mass on Friday morning with Fr. John Graden, OSFS as celebrant. Fr. John brought a collection of Salesian books and artwork to the Event, which was set up in display form. He gave us real insight into his work over the years with Salesian publications and the new name of the organization at Stella Niagara: "Embraced by God". On Saturday morning, we had a Mass celebrated by Fr. Mike Depcik, OSFS a deaf and unable to speak priest. The Mass and sermon in sign language was interpreted by Fr. Ken. All agreed it was a very moving experience. Fr. Mike is one of only eleven priests in the U.S. who are deaf and unable to speak. Followin Mass , he joined us for breakfast and more questions and discussion. Bill Maher presented him with a NECHS tee shirt and made him an honorary alumnus.
Friday evening, we had a Bull Session at which all agreed to have Reunion IV next year in the East possibly at Malvern again with a side trip to Childs. All concurred to have the date, place, etc announced by no later than Dec. 1, 2015.We discussed our newly formed "Wild Geese XOSFS, LLC", a not for profit limited liability company.
Submitted by: Bill Mittendorf