A Letter from Father Daniel Griffith

As you know, Albert Hofstede, parishioner of Lourdes and former mayor of Minneapolis, died this past September. Along with numerous leadership and service roles in our community and local Church, Al served as parish trustee of Lourdes for more than forty years. In fact, Al was still serving as parish trustee at the time of his death. Parishioner, Ralph Strangis also served as parish trustee for a number of years. Al and Ralph worked very well together - their gifts complimented each other’s perfectly and they could by rightly described as a dynamic duo.

I remember the first time I met Al and Ralph shortly after I was appointed pastor of Lourdes in 2012. I came away from our breakfast meeting very impressed by their wisdom and a bit intimated by their experience and gravitas. I quickly came to rely on their wise counsel and support as the parish transitioned from a quaint and smaller urban parish to a growing and the growing bustling community of faith it is today. Both Al and Ralph are recipients of the Fleur de Lis award for their extraordinary commitment to Our Lady of Lourdes.

One of the last significant contributions made by Al and Ralph was their strong and lockstep opposition to the proposed 29 story tower on the Nye’s site. In one memorable meeting, these venerable lions resolutely told the developers: “this is not going to happen.” Because of their strong leadership and unwavering advocacy for Lourdes, we are happy that the 29 story proposal was replaced by a more sensible development. I and the community of Lourdes owe Al and Ralph a big debt of gratitude for their generous years of excellent service as parish trustees.

Ralph had indicated to me recently that he wished to step down as parish trustee with Albert. Thus, after Albert’s death, Ralph expressed his desire to retire as trustee. I am happy to report that the parish and I will continue to benefit from Ralph’s wise counsel as he has agreed to remain an adviser to me. After prayer, discernment, and appropriate consultation, I recently proposed the names of parishioners Debra (Deb) Hamilton and Albert (Bert) Colianni to Archbishop Hebda for his consideration as new trustees. Archbishop Hebda appointed Deb and Bert trustees of Our Lady of Lourdes, effective November 1, 2016. I look for the following attributes in a parish trustee: faith; competence; experience; a blend of courage and prudence; commitment to the parish; trustworthiness; and accessibility. Bert and Deb manifest all of these attributes in abundance and I thank them for their willingness to serve Lourdes as parish trustees. Our community of faith will benefit well from their wisdom and service.

Deb and her husband Fred have been parishioners of Lourdes for years – dating back to the pastorate of Fr. Ward. They raised their two children in the parish and Deb has served the parish in a variety of ways, including most recently as chair of the Lourdes’ finance council. Deb is educated as both a physician (anesthesiologist) and an attorney. Today, when folks ask Deb what she does, she simply says: “I’m a church lady.” A church lady extraordinaire! Bert and his wife Suzie joined Our Lady of Lourdes is 2012. Bert is an accountant (CPA) by education and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Marquette Companies, LLC. Bert has served the local Church and the Twin Cities community in a variety of ways, including on the fundraising committee for the new Dorothy Day Center in St. Paul and as the current chair of Hill Museum and Manuscript Library at St. John’s University in Collegeville. Please keep Deb and Bert in your prayers as they begin their new work as trustees and if you see them, please extend your gratitude.

Deb’s new role as parish trustee required that she step down as chair of our finance council. Linda Harty has agreed to succeed Deb as the new chair. Linda’s work as chair will begin in January of 2017. Linda currently serves as Treasurer of Medtronic and will bring tons of experience and savvy to her work as our new finance council chair. Linda and her husband Tom have been parishioners of Lourdes since 2012. You may remember Linda’s excellent stewardship talk last year, which, along with other positive developments, helped the parish finish the fiscal year in the black! Thank you to Linda for her willingness to serve in this important role.

In Gratitude,

Fr. Griffith