These two men were champions of Vatican II. I first met them when I was in graduate school at Notre Dame.
Jim lived at Saint Joseph Church in South Bend for five summers while studying liturgy at Notre Dame. He was one of the most profound preachers I have ever heard. When he preached on Sunday, I would sit in the back pew of the church and take notes. However, my heart could not capture his love for God and his enthusiasm for the Church in the era of the Second Vatican Council. He loved people. He loved the gospel. He loved our search for the wisdom of God’s love for us. He was a great mentor.
Fred was an incredible personality. He earned a doctorate in music. The church organ was his home. Our paths crossed many times in our careers. After I left Saint Joseph Church in 1984, he served there as Director of Music. We also lived in Chicago at the same time. His personality was bigger than life. His spontaneous humor, his love for community building through music, earned him much respect by so many people. His was a champion for liturgical music as a vehicle for justice, community formation, and searching for God. His leadership was contagious. I have never laughed so hard as I did in his presence through the years.
I took this photo at the National Association of Pastoral Musicians Convocation in Saint Louis in the summer of 2014. The three of us had lunch that day. It was the last time we sat together. I will miss them.
These are just two of the people I have met through the years that instilled enthusiasm for church life and what the church means in the world. I also grieve the loss of such joy and meaning in the church today. We have lost our edge. We have lost our joy in believing the purpose of the church is for people. I don’t think it was just my youthful enthusiasm that caught their friendship. I believe it was the grace of God aching to show us all that life is worth it and that faith is the only way home.
Monsignor James Telthorst, rest in peace.
Dr. Fred Moleck, rest in peace.