Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Remembering a faithful servant

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
The Rev'd Walter Harrison Beste, ssc (known affectionately to many as "Padre" or "Father B") was called home in the Lord's service this past Thursday morning and laid to rest on Monday in Weatherford. It was an honor to serve as a pall bearer at his funeral . He served as a model priest for sixty-two years (twenty of those in this parish). He made his life a prayer--a "spoonful of sweet smelling holy smoke" ascending to God's throne.

It was such a pleasure to have him come back to preach on the feast of Saint Alban the Martyr at the Solemn High Mass. I hoped it would be the first of many such opportunities after he had recently moved back to the metroplex, but it was not to be. I wanted to share the beautiful thank you letter that he sent me after that visit.


Dear Father Matkin,

I greatly appreciated the invitation to preach at St. Alban’s on the patronal festival and thank you for inviting me. Thank you also for the very generous honorarium which I have taken the liberty of returning to the church, but in the form of a cheque for the pipe organ fund. This has been sent to Charlene Dorsey, and she will bring it to the church office. Charlene and I have kept up a steady correspondence over the years. It was, indeed, a pleasure to be able to visit with many old friends of yesteryear, and to make the acquaintance of some new parishioners.

St. Alban’s remains the beautiful church that it has always been and will always be. The church interior is spotless. I could see my face in the polished floors. The choir was excellent in its performance of the offertory anthem and the service music. The solemn liturgy was well done in the Catholic tradition that I had begun when first I went to be the Rector of the parish back in 1954. I understand that you were the author of the beautiful vestments worn by the clergy. Someone told me of your talent for designing and making liturgical vesture. Thank you also for filling the censer with “sweet smelling holy smoke” (c.f., Rev 8:3-4). I recall that Bishop William Paul Barnds, the former Suffragan Bishop of Dallas, once said to me, “Father, be generous with spoonfuls of sweet smelling holy smoke.” He would always put four spoonfuls instead of the usual three into the censer.

I have no doubt that St. Alban’s has a great future before it, and for many years. It has had a glorious past. The recent sad occurrences need not be a “set back.” I learned long ago that there is no definition for success, but the definition for failure is “try and please everyone.” Think positively and God will continue to sustain you with the abundance of his grace. As I said in my sermon, everyone should read the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, which in itself is a superb sermon on love.

God bless you in all your orisons.

Faithfully in Christ,

Father B +

1 comment:

Christopher+ said...

Thanks!