Didn't we just do this, I asked myself, as 45 Catholic high school classmates gathered on Sept. 28 at Norbert College in De Pere for our 55th reunion.
Sadly, some of my closest friends had gone on to their eternal reward since our last reunion five years ago. But, overall, our coming together was a joyful occasion of remembrance and sharing for the St. Joseph Academy Class of 1958.
I was asked to give the "Reflection" after Communion during the reunion Mass, for which the presider was Fr. Jim Neilson, O.Praem., who was the celebrant for the Mass at this year's Oshkosh Irish Fest.
In a nutshell, my message was that each of us still has at least one God-given gift that we haven't unwrapped. I shared the story of a friend who seems to open a new God-given gift/talent every day.
Quoting from Joan Chittister's best-selling book, "The Gift of Years," I told my classmates that "to insist on living until we die may be one of life's greatest virtues. It is easy at any age simply to stop, to be satisfied with what is, to refuse to be more. But when we go on working - at something, for some reason, for someone, for something greater than ourselves - when we go on giving ourselves away right to the very end, we have lived a full life.
"Retirement does not free us from the responsibility to go on tending the world?this may, in fact, be the first moment in our lives when we are really free to choose work that brings out the best in us and so brings out the best in the world around us. The only question is what work will we do? And the answer to that is: whatever work needs to be done where we are!"
In closing, I shared one sentence written by the late Erma Bombeck: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say: 'I used everything you gave me.' "
? All Saints Lutheran Church in Oshkosh begins this week to offer Wednesday Night Worship at 6:30 p.m. every second Wednesday of the month.
? The popular Fall Pork Chop Supper at Waukau United Methodist Church will take place on Saturday, Oct. 12. Serving starts at 4 p.m. and continues until the 475 dinner tickets are sold. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 for adults and $5 for children age 10 and younger. Carryouts are available. The church is on State Highway 116 at Waukau.
? The choir of St. Paul's United Church of Christ of Oshkosh will sing with the choir from Peace Lutheran Church at the Dedication Concert for Peace's new Rodgers organ at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13. The concert, at 240 W. Ninth Ave., will also feature Dr. Daniel Steinert as guest organist, the Instruments of Peace praise band, and the Peace Bell Choir.
? Lutheran Homes of Oshkosh is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Founded by congregations from throughout the Oshkosh area, the organization has served thousands of senior citizens and their families. Lutheran Homes is collecting stories from people who have had connections with the facilities through the years. To share your experiences, or a favorite memory, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by regular mail to Faith in Action Committee, 225 N. Eagle St., Oshkosh WI 54902. For more information, visit www.lutheranhomes.com
? The 2013 St. Joseph Holiday Boutique, featuring 24 holiday table settings and specially decorated shops, will be Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18 and 19, at St. Joseph Parish, 364 S. Cambridge St., Wautoma. Table viewings, for a donation of $2, will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18 (adults only). The boutiques, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, will include a Holiday Treat Pantry, bakery, floral shop, craft gallery, Santa's Little Store, Garden Room and Precious Treasures. There also will be a gift basket raffle, a regular raffle, and door prizes.
? Kraut Kuchen will be sold on Sunday, Oct. 20, by the Women's Fellowship at First Congregational Church, 137 Algoma Blvd., Oshkosh, starting at 11 a.m. The ethnic treat is a blend of hamburger, cabbage, onions and spices baked in pastry. Proceeds of the sale go to the Matching Kitchen Fund.