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October 22, 2020

9/25/2020 1:47:00 PM
He was a great role model

Dear Editor:
My five brothers and I kneeled at the front door when Father Fran was leaving after a visit.
He would bless us and say a prayer. I felt loved.
He didn't pray we would be racists. He prayed for us to be open to tolerance.
He didn't pray for my brothers and I say disparaging put downs to women. He prayed for us to be respectful.
He prayed for us to become like Jesus and emulate his teachings to love and care for others.
He didn't pray that we cling to one commandment and forget the other 9. He knew it was an imperfect world. He was such a brave and forgiving human being.
He didn't stand over us and pray we would emulate people of bad character. We wanted to be the best people we could be for him, for my Mom and Dad, and for our community. We always knew we lived in a bigger world than ourselves.
Father Fran Eschweiler was a great role model in our home and in the Good Shepard Church in Menomonee Falls. To us kids the church was like another home. Potlucks, services, music, and the overriding feeling that it was a community of love. But the door wasn't closed. It opened both in and out. We welcomed all that came to the door and parishioners left the comfort of their homes to work for justice and equality in the world. Prayer groups had uncomfortable but honest talks about issues of the day.
He started a wonderful legacy at Good Shepard church that still thrives today. I went to the "Breaking Bread" newsletters online to read about the activities the church is involved with today. Confirmation students were putting together Sensory Backpacks for first responders to use to diffuse episodes with autistic children. They included fidget toys, headphones to cancel noise, and calming books. The weekly mass is available on youtube for homebound people. A fund to donate school supplies to poor schools. Black Catholic Lives Matter walks to expose racism as a sin were among many other projects and outreach programs.
Good work for good hearts.
I feel blessed I knew the love of the Good Shepherd Church and someone like Father Fran.
Mary Peterson-Smith
Richland Center, WI

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