Tuesday, October 31, 2023

A Ghostly Tale for All Hallows Eve

Years ago when I was still in high school I read a collection of ghost stories called "Haunted Heartland." Most of them weren't a bit scary and were presented in  the dry  businesslike fashion of a folklorist who is merely collecting materials for a dissertation, but one tale stuck with me. It was the story of Fr. Louis Lesches, a priest assigned to St. Mary's College in Minnesota, who tried to kill his superior, Bishop Patrick Hefron. The bishop was saying Mass in the seminary chapel one morning when he turned around and saw Fr. Lesches standing behind him. To the bishop's surprise, the priest was wearing a Prince Albert suit instead of his cassock or clericals. To add to this surprise the bishop quickly realized that  the priest was packing heat. Fr. Lesches fired a gun three times, hitting the bishop twice.

At that time Fr. Lesches was already the number one problem child of the diocese. Although he was said to be brilliant and had done well in the academic part of his seminary studies, he was also overly emotional, insubordinate, and felt that the bishop was persecuting him. He'd failed at all of his parish assignments and now Bishop 
Hefron had recalled him to St. Mary's to keep a close eye on him. 

 Bishop Heffron's vestments, orneriness, and his great physical shape probably saved his life.  Instead of dropping dead or swooning he yelled at his now panicked attacker and chased him out of the chapel. Fr. Lesches was captured and spent the rest of his life in a mental hospital.

 Students have been claiming to see the ghost of Fr. Lesches on campus for decades. It's a spooky tale but I hope everyone who hears or reads it will stop and say a prayer for this poor, strange, unstable man who never should've been ordained but is a priest forever and one who probably really needs our help now. 

Sunday, October 01, 2023

What the heck is WRONG with people?

 When 26 year old Baltimore CEO Pava LePere was found  partially clad, strangled and bludgeoned to death in her own apartment building I noticed that MOST of the comments in both secular news and among men on Catholic Twitter, mocked the victim and expressed satisfaction that she was dead.

 Pava supported Black Lives Matter. The irony of her murder by a man whom she would have presumably championed and whom she naively let into her controlled access building  was enough for an explosion of schadenfreude. 
One Catholic man in particular seemed triumphant and  kept posting on Twitter, "She let him in." The last time I checked, he'd made his statement several times.

Look, I get that men are frustrated. There are many silly young women who flit from one fad to another with no deep thought about their own safety or much of anything else but Pava was murdered. How can you call yourself a Catholic man and revel in her death?  She obviously didn't grow up in a neighborhood like the one I did and unlike mine,  her parents may have never taught her you don't open to the door to anyone you don't know because it's better to be seen as rude than dead. At 26, she was old enough to be my daughter and I look at her photo with sadness. Thank God, the killer, who so far, has attacked three women has been caught.