Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fr. James Lichtefeld, R.I.P.

I ask your prayers today for a priest back home who just passed away: Fr. James Lichtefeld. A consummate character, I will always remember Fr. Jim as the pastor of the parish where I grew up. An intimidating man, the pronunciation of his last name was always sure to spark a debate with him. I remember how, upon hearing of the (ahem) "alternate pronunciation" (think "lick your face") that the grade schoolers had developed for him, he marched from room to room (from first grade to the eighth) where he gave a 15 minute lecture on how to correctly spell and pronounce his last name (L-I-C-H-T-E-F-E-L-D!). I was in seventh grade at the time. Years later, after I was ordained, he swore to me he never did that... oh well. Underneath his gruff exterior was a good man and a good priest. It took me some time to realize that, but thank God I did. During a turbulent time in the Church's history, Fr. Jim proved faithful, and there's a lot to be said for that alone. I've come to think over the years that there is no priest who does everything well. Each has their own particular thing that they are better at and enjoy the most. For Fr. Jim that was hospital visitations. Many, many people would recount how faithful he was at their bedside during a time of illness. Or how he was so good with their parent or spouse who lie dying. He was a tremendous help at our tribunal, too, where he functioned as a Defender of the Bond. So, say a prayer for this good man who today went to his reward. May God forgive his faults, and grant him the reward of his goodness. Amen.

UPDATE: arrangements for Fr. Jim include visitation on Thursday, September 23 from 1-8PM at Ratterman's (3800 Bardstown Rd.), with Funeral Mass on Friday at 11:00AM at St. Stephen's.


Renee said...

What a beautifully written tribute to Fr Jim. A genuine man with passion, joy and love for helping others. (But definitely NOT the business side of things..which he openly admitted) It was always so hard to have him over for dinner because his calendar was always filled up. If Fr Jim was in the room...you knew it! I loved asking him how he thoughts the Cats were going to do this year. (Ky Wildcats) He had such a "little boyish" whisper he would respond with, like he had the "know" of how it was going to go. It always made my heart fill with joy to see this very human side of him. His humaness...his abilities to stand on the alter and admit he sinned...made him very real, very approachable, and extremely genuine. Because of his humility, he reached so many. He loved us all. He loved God.

"You've got the best seat in the house this season, buddy! Watch over us. I love you."

Anonymous said...

I attended St John Vianney when Fr Jim was there. He knew me very well. I always had myself in situations that required his attention. ie trouble. Later in my adult life I knew Fr Jim, saw him at many events and had the opportunity to know members of his family. Fr Jim was a great man and I thank him for being part of my life at a early age and beyond. God bless you Fr Jim.