This has been a reflective time for me. A few days ago a friend and fellow parishoner, Frank Meyers, asked me to go to Ray Myer's office and meet with a man by the name of Jack Kennedy, who is the great nephew of Father O'Conner. Father O'Conner had been the parish priest at Sacred Heart Church in Chariton from the 1920's to the 50's. Frank wanted me to share some of my memories of Father O'Conner as I had been his alter boy in Father's later years at the church. It was fun reflecting on those times and the warm hearted priest who helped shape so many lives including mine.
Frank did some research of his own and found a poem the kind priest had written and I share it with you now.
What Shall I Preach?
By the Rev. Charles J. O’Connor
Chariton Leader, Oct. 3, 1933
I will preach Jesus crucified,
Who for both saint and sinner died.
I’ll preach the Trinity.
That in one God are persons three.
Ah! Here, indeed, is mystery;
Let Christ the teacher be.
I’ll preach that God to each one gave
A soul which lives beyond the grave.
The body only dies.
That high above the highest star
Innumerable mansions are;
He reaches there who tries.
I will preach charity’s the road,
Which leadeth straight to that abode;
Hate otherwhere doth lead.
None else’s creed will I deride;
But in my own in peace abide;
Salvation’s in the deed.
Controversy little mends;
And Christ’s seamless garment rends;
And makes of Him a mock.
Faith and love give strength in pain;
And to age and youth mean gain;
And rear a better stock.
I will not talk on politics;
And empties fast the pews.
I will not rave o’er vices small;
For cards and dancing, after all,
God heaven does not refuse.
Right-living is but self-respect;
The Virtuous are God’s own elect,
Whatever land they roam.
A worthy people are my care;
May they and I God’s blessing share
Until He calls us home.