Remembering a priest of mercy Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 -- 12:00 AM
Cared for his people

This was just one example of how much Monsignor Monte cared for his people. And his people appreciated him, as was shown by the packed church at his Mass of Christian Burial at St. Mary-St. Paul Church in Mineral Point on January 4.

As one of his former parishioners commented about him on the Catholic Herald Facebook page, “My heart is saddened by this great loss. He was our pastor at Truman for 17 years. He has deepened my faith in God. I have learned a lot under his guidance. I liked that he was more traditional than modern. He will be sadly missed.”

Love for the priesthood

Monsignor Monte asked his friend Fr. Bart Timmerman, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison, to give the homily at his funeral Mass. In his moving homily, Father Bart mentioned Monsignor Monte’s great love for the priesthood and especially the Eucharist.

I discovered the same thing when I interviewed Monsignor Monte prior to his 40th anniversary of ordination celebration in 2015. Monsignor Monte told me his 40 years as a priest had gone very fast. “It seems like I just got ordained,” he said. He emphasized that they have been “good, happy, wonderful years.”

He added, “Priesthood is something that you grow into, somewhat like marriage. At ordination I knew what priesthood was about, but one grows in an understanding of what priesthood is. What a great honor and responsibility, especially to share with people their joys and their tears.”

He said he hoped that people knew his values and what he stands for, so that he can “point people to God. I pray that more people will come to God in this age we live in. I hope there is a rebirth of faith.”

Monsignor Monte certainly helped in that rebirth of faith in his parishes. He often taught religious education classes himself. He took a personal interest in all of his parishioners, from children to senior citizens. As Father Bart mentioned, he never turned down an invitation to dinner.

A priest of mercy

Father Bart also called Monsignor Monte a “priest of mercy.” As we begin the Year of Mercy in the Church, we can appreciate Monsignor Monte and all of our priests who hear our Confessions and bring mercy to those who are suffering, sick, and dying.

Even as he was nearing death, Monsignor Monte prayed for others. In his letter to me, he concluded, “My prayers and my deepest thanks, and every good and peace,” adding, “it is getting harder to write.”

Support our priests

As we pray for the repose of his soul and the souls of all our deceased priests (including Fr. Lorin Bowens who also died shortly after Monsignor Monte), I hope we will also pray for and support our priests who are still with us.

In the interview last year, Monsignor Monte said, “Thanks to all the people I have served and am serving. They have supported me in my whole priesthood.”

Especially during this Year of Mercy, let us remember in our prayers and with our support all the priests who bring us mercy!