We anticipate Easter sermons which focus on resurrection/renewal. Msgr. W. Robert Schmidt added an unexpected element when he spoke instead of his friendship with concelebrant, Father William (“Digger’” to many) Dawson.
They have been friends since boyhood in Ottumwa.
He noted Father’s great intellect and his humanitarian instincts. Fr. Dawson is a proponent of peace and a man who practices what he preaches. He keeps an open heart, door and wallet! Who could tally the cars he “loans”— never to be seen again — or the bills that float out of his billfold into the hands of the needy? How many Masses — funeral, wedding, memorial — were offered with no stipend being accepted? Priests are not paid grand salaries and he has never been rich in the coin of the world. His true wealth lies in the people who love him.
St. Anthony Parish in Davenport has been fortunate in having Fr. Dawson be a “regular” celebrant at late-morning Sunday Masses. Fr. Bill comes to bring a bit of community into his sermons and prayers of the faithful, along with groan-producing jokes. Thank you for your inclusion of other faith members in our supplications!
Fr. Bill is not the only priest in the diocese who deserves praise, but his age and mine are not that far apart; neither of us will remain for many more years on this earth. Let’s be sure he leaves this life having some small idea of how much his goodness, his priesthood, generosity, leadership mean to those who sit in the pews.
Thank you, Father Bill Dawson, for all you have given, especially your friendship.