Fr. Boeglin: ‘I believe in the power of prayer’September 14, 2018
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — Holy Family Catholic Church in Jasper will host a Mass of Thanksgiving this weekend in honor of the 40th anniversary of Father John Boeglin’s priest ordination. But the Jasper man doesn’t know how to feel about it.
He is honored for the recognition, but wants to use his time in the spotlight to highlight the power of prayer and the profound impact it can have on others — not his own accomplishments.
“This may be a weird thing to say,” said Boeglin, 68. “I’m looking forward to this 40th anniversary, but in one sense, I’m not. Because it’s not about me. It’s about who my boss is, and that’s Jesus Christ.”
The celebration Mass will be take place at 5 p.m. at Holy Family, and a reception and entertainment will follow in the church’s fellowship hall.
Boeglin’s 40 years of priesthood have been exciting and challenging. Leading people to Christ is not an easy job in a world dominated by secular values, but he has felt called by God to the vocation since his childhood.
“It’s not an easy job, because you deal with people from birth to death,” Boeglin said. “There’s great times when there’s new life, but there’s also sad times (like funerals and during the last moments of a person’s life).” As he has aged, he said, the hardest part of his work has become burying longtime friends and those who are younger than him.
He became the pastor at Holy Family in 1994, and prior to that he served as pastor at the former St. Peter Celestine Church in Celestine, as well as an associate pastor at both St. Theresa Church in Evansville and at St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish in Newburgh.
Boeglin described his job as “awesome.” He acknowledged that he isn’t perfect, but said he hopes he’s been a vehicle to people that helps get them to heaven.
“My job is to be the bridge between the word of God and their daily life,” he said of his role with the people he interacts with, adding that he strives to create relevant and engaging messages that instill hope to all he speaks to.
He loves his job because he is at peace knowing it is what God wants him to do. Born and raised in a faith-filled family in Haubstadt, he decided he wanted to pursue ordination after a priest from his parish visited his Catholic school and spread the word of his missionary travels to India and purpose in life. Boeglin’s relationship with God has constantly evolved in the time since, and he added that he feels as though he’s just getting to know God now — all these years later.
“Perhaps it’s like a child growing up with parents,” he said. “You know they’re wise people, but sometimes you question them. But as you get older, you become wiser. I think also you become wiser with God because you pray more. Maybe the same scripture you prayed (in the past) has a lot more meaning now because you have a lot more life experiences. The word of God becomes more alive as you get older.”
When he is hurting, he turns to prayer and his priest support group to grow spiritually. Boeglin will deliver a homily at the celebration Mass that focuses on his life story, the people who directed him to the faith, and the positive power prayer can have in everyone’s life. He said that even though loved ones may be gone from this world, they are waiting for us in a better place, and they can pray for us, too.
“This is something I will share, and it will probably make me cry, because my mom and dad have been gone for many years,” he said. “I pray to the Lord every day, but I ask all those who are in heaven who know me very well to pray for me — in heaven — that I remain a faithful priest. And I pray to my mommy and daddy every day that I be a good priest.”
He later concluded: “I believe in the power of prayer.”
In addition to Saturday’s celebration Mass, additional weekend Masses are at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Holy Family Catholic Church, with a reception following each Mass
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