Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Love, In Sadness

Ask any priest, and especially any bishop, of the cherished memories of their ordination and, if they're fortunate enough to have had the privilege, always at the top of the list is some variation of "That my parents got to see it."

Two weeks after his episcopal ordination, Bishop Walker Nickless of Sioux City is back home in Denver. His mother, Margaret, who was able to make it to Iowa for the festivities, lost a lengthy battle with Parkinson's disease yesterday. She was 77. A Friday funeral in Colorado is planned.

As a reader who sent along the news tells me, "It should add another dimension previously unkown to the general public regarding Bishop Nickless' ordination on January 20 and why he and his family were so emotional."

Mrs. Nickless leaves behind her husband and nine children in addition to her bishop-son. In remarks at the close of his ordination liturgy, Walker Nickless told his parents -- who for years ran a popular butcher shop in the Mile High City -- that their love "has deepened in me in my priesthood throughout my vocation. Everything good in my life, you have helped me to create and shape." He then thanked his siblings "for being true to the witness our parents have given in their lives."

The diocesan staff in Sioux City has told their new boss to take all the time he needs back in Denver to grieve and be with his family.