Monthly Archives: May 2011

May 21, 1971

Yesterday was my 40th anniversary of ordination. Instead of attending an anniversary party in Chicago, i spent most of the day in the hospital. Someone sent me the letter I had sent out 15 years ago. They were struck by my reflections then….and my expeirences now. I am too. The Holy Spirit guides and directs our lives preparing us for what lies ahead.

May 21 1971 – May 21 1996

Dear Friends,

Twenty-five years passes quickly when
you are having fun. And these have been fun
filled, inspirational years.

Last year, I had the opportunity of a
three month sabbatical. It afforded me time
to reflect on my years of ministry. They have
been incredibly positive, grace-filled years.
There have been so many wonderful people whose
lives I have been allowed to touch, that have
in fact, shaped and formed me. These
experiences have been transformational for me.
They have been redemptive. For them, for YOU,
I am thankful.

As I think of where God has been most
present to me, has most touched my life during
these years of ministry, it has been in the
death of teenagers. At first hearing, that
may seem ironic. But it was in the moments of
confusion and pain, of hurt and anger, when
there was nothing I could do but be present as
priest. Then I experienced what St. Paul
describes: “I boast most gladly of my
weaknesses…for the sake of Christ; for when
I am weak, then I am strong.”

In so many other “deaths” that I have
had the opportunity to share, I have known the
presence of God. I am reminded what a
privilege and honor it is to be invited into
the lives of so many wonderful people. For
you, who have invited me to walk with you,
thank you.

So, at the end of twenty five years, I
give thanks for having the opportunity to
rejoice and celebrate with many. But most
especially, I am thankful to have been allowed
to share in suffering and sorrow. For it is
in death that we are reborn to eternal life.

For remembering with me God’s
incredible gift of love, for being sacrament
of the Divine love for me, I bless you, thank
you and remember you in prayer.

Twenty-five years ago, Archbishop Byrne
prayed over me saying: May God who has begun
the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.
Now I ask you to remember me in prayer that
these next 25 years will bring those words to


Blessed be the Lord

Previously I mentioned that I have shed many tears in the last month, but they had all been tears of joy.    Allow me to explain.

The classic stages of dying are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.   Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her innovative study On Death and Dying, makes the point that not everyone experiences all five stages, and while the order above is most common, it is not the only sequence of experience.

When I initially received the news from a young ER doc at Mercy in Cedar Rapids, I was filled with sadness.  I reflected on all the wonderful experiences of my life, and realized that they would come to an end.  How could I best tell  these people who had loved me and whom I love still.

I do not think I ever had a moment of denial, or doubt.  This was the sure and certain reality (which ALL of us face) that I had preached for 40 years.  Even in my dying, I would have the opportunity to share once again, on a much deeper level, the grace of love.

And so I had this rush of wonderful memories of family, of friends, of colleagues, of moments of God’s grace in ministry.  It was perhaps the first time that I acknowledged that God had over abundantly blest me in life.  Far more than I ever deserved.  Only to be once again, blest in dying itself.

As I recalled these super abundant graces of God, I wept.  As you responded by writing and reminding me to recall  some of our experiences, I wept even more.  Tears of great joy as you invited me to reflect on my role in your life as brother, uncle, friend, priest, mentor and colleague. 

Thank you for what you have been, and especially for what you are now.

Blessed be the Lord, the giver of all good gifts.

Rev. Everett Hemann

A Celebration of Life

40 years as a priest

May 21, 1971 I was ordained a priest.   There has been 40  very good years.   

I am putting together a collection of pictures from these 40 years.   If you have a couple of good quality photos,  please email them to me.   I can only use .JPG files.   Personal, formal, buildings, etc.   I desire to relive those great years.  

Thank you.

Rev. Ev Hemann

Medically – what I know

About a month ago, I went to the Emergency Room with what I feared might be a kidney stone.  A CAT scan indicated tumors and lesions in my pancreas.  That began a long journey of attempting to identify the kind of growth, etc.   Today it is confirmed as  malignant cancer, already metastasized to liver, lungs and bone.  Pancreatic cancer at this stage, has no cure, and treatment options are  limited and not very effective.  

I decided to begin chemotherapy two weeks ago.  I reacted to one of the drugs and found myself in cardiac unit for 30 hours.  This week, I slightly revised the treatment and will have my second chemotherapy next Monday.

I informed my seven siblings and  nieces and nephews two weeks ago.   I selected NOT to tell the parish and friends until after Easter.  I made that choice for two reasons:  1)  Why spoil your Easter, and,  2)  It would allow me to celebrate Holy Week with  my people, instead of it being about me.  It turned out to be the right choice.  Holy Week and Easter were about US celebrating the Paschal Mystery, not me. 

 I am blessed with a compassionate and knowledgeable oncologist.  A  good friend is also an oncologist (retired from University of Iowa) and has viewed my records and is in agreement and supportive of my decisions. 

I also have three physicians in my family who are helpful.  I’m surrounded by a good, competent medical “team”.    

Of its very nature, my journey is one-day-at- -a- time, sometimes hour-by-hour.  I hope to continue to minister here in a limited capacity.  I told Archbishop Hanus he needs to appoint a pastor here soon.  I hope to  continue serving in the parish  through mid-summer/August.  Ultimately, I’m not in control of the calendar.  Any plans are subject to immediate change. 

Fr. Ev Hemann

my announcment

Holy Week and Easter, challenge us to enter more deeply into the Paschal Mystery  – the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. 

This is what it means to be a priest – to walk with people through the Paschal Mystery. 

To celebrate the joy of birth (Baptism);  growing in the faith  (First Communion), love (marriages),  sickness( anointing & praying) and death (the funeral liturgy and the new life promised)

I have some news to share that relates specifically to our sharing in the Paschal Mystery.

I have discovered I have pancreatic cancer.  Pancreatic cancer is almost always terminal and life expectancy relatively brief.  These have been difficult weeks for me, but my faith, our faith, has enabled me to be strong.  Celebrating the events of the Holy Week with you has been a great source of strength and hope for me.

I have shed many tears, but they have been tears of joy – joyfulness in how God has blest me in this life. 

For two years, we have journeyed together.  You allowed me to be your servant leader.

Now it’s time to begin the pilgrimage that leads to the cross, directly.

Like Jesus I ask you to pray with me in my final hour.  To keep watch with me.  As I washed your feet on Holy Thursday, perhaps now I will ask you to wash my feet.  I know that you will walk with me, wiping  my face as I carry my cross to Calvary.

I thank you for all you have been, and in advance, for how you will be faithful disciples walking with one another through this unique experience of the Paschal Mystery. 

Two years ago I stood here to be installed as your pastor, and I sang a song to you.   May it continue to be our theme song in the next few months.

 Will you let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you.  Pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too.


Hello and welcome to Fr. Ev’s blog! Keep up-to-speed on the last developments straight from our beloved Reverend Everett Hemann. He will update this blog when he’s feeling able, in order to minimize personal e-mail and phone call traffic to individuals. Please keep up-to-date on his health conditions via this blog and keep sending your love and prayers his way!