Message at the Reception
for Father William (“Bill”) Shannon
Shannon, you are probably wondering why we called this meeting...
years ago we dedicated our yearbook to you. In our dedication we said,
Monsignor William Shannon in his twentieth year as chaplain..
Because he has chosen to become a priest there are miracles among us
and between us and there is no one of us who can’t find Love. Children and
many children will know their Father because he has chosen to teach
dedication, as beautiful and profound as it was, was
probably said, like so many lofty things we said at that age,
without a clue as to the true depth of its meaning. We
wanted you to know, 40 years later, how richly it now resonates with us.
We’d like you to know how much your examples of scholarship,
generosity and courage have helped us as we’ve faced the then
unimagined challenges in our world, church and personal lives.
were with you
on the brink of Vatican II and you gave us some great gifts that
would serve as a framework as we moved ahead...you allowed us
see our faith as something that could, in fact must, be questioned
understand Church as “Us”
taught by example the values
YOU WERE AND ARE A PRIEST WHO RESPECTS AND CHAMPIONS WOMEN.
even attempted to bring a little sophistication into our lives by:
our mixers to a Viennese Ball once a year
introducing us to the loveliness of a shared glass of wine at your
soirees (judging from the party at Kate’s last night, we
got that one.)
simply, we wanted you to know how much you have mattered to us. So, our
class gift, for our 40th reunion, is being given in your honor. It might
interest you to know that, through blatant marketing of your name, we
achieved a giving record for our class, both in percentage of
participation and in total dollars given. 68% of us gave $30,000 in your
name to Nazareth.
I was on staff at Nazareth, you once asked me to call you “Bill.” I
must admit I was very touched, but that, along with calling Dr. Bush,
“Mary,” did not come easily. You will always be “father” to us, in
many ways. But
it put me in mind of a song entitled “Bill” from the musical
“Showboat.” When I revisited it I found that it began with “Then
along came Bill, an ordinary guy...” Well, of course, that wouldn’t
do. There is nothing ordinary about Bill Shannon. As I listened to the
end, though, I thought the last line might work very well...... Hit it ,
LOVE HIM, BECAUSE HE’S, I DON’T KNOW, BECAUSE HE’S JUST
you for everything, Father Bill Shannon.