When I was alerted by my husband that Monsignor Lester had died, I felt a terrible sadness in my heart.
Monsignor Lester was this pillar of the Catholic community and not only did lots of people know him but his presence and influence was felt over several generations - in fact - four generations of my family.
Several of my family members received the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation, eucharist, and confirmation. There were home visits, hospital visits, last rites, and funeral services.
My mom and aunts went to Central Catholic High School and they, along with my grandpa and great-grandma were faithful congregation members at churches where he presided.
My husband and I were married by him - June 2, 1990 - in Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
The weird thing is - I wasn't "close" to him like I was to the priests that were in service at St. Therese (Father Rock, Father Frank).
I think because he was "old school", I held him at arm's length because I knew how much my grandpa (and others) respected him and I never, ever wanted to offend him. With Father Rock, I would crack jokes or poke fun at something and we would both have great belly laughs over it. With Monsignor Lester, I was serious and on my best behavior.
I knew Monsignor Lester had retired from his duties at Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I knew that he was certainly up there in age. But I guess what I wasn't prepared for, was the death of this man who I thought of as timeless.
And because I had recently renewed my relationship with God and the Catholic Church, I always thought that I'd run into him again. And like always, he'd remember the face, but struggle with my name :).
But unfortunately, it is not to be.
God bless and keep you Monsignor Lester. I know that you are in a better place and that your life here in Fort Wayne was adored, admired, and appreciated by multiple generations of families. You touched many of our lives in ways that cannot be fully articulated. You will not be forgotten.