5400 19th Ave, Kenosha, WI 53140
1919 54th Street, Kenosha, WI 53140
Fr. Campbell's "Tour of the Catholic Faith" class will return to OLMC on Tuesdays from 7 to 9pm, beginning on September 8, 2015. Teens and Adults welcome.
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School - 1919 54th Street, Kenosha. Enter through the door facing Columbus Park.
Class also serves as an RCIA class for non-Catholics who wish to become Catholic or for those who have never been Confirmed. Adult Catechism from Fr. John Hardon will be available for purchase - $25 for Catholics, FREE for non-Catholics.
Religious Education/CCD for all junior high (7th-8th grade) and high school (freshmen-junior) students begins Sunday evening, Sept. 13, with a parent meeting at 6:15pm.
Class for students is from 6:30-8pm each week.
Please note: We have a 3-year Confirmation program. For students to be eligible for the Sacrament of Confirmation, they must attend classes freshman through junior year, and be attending Mass weekly - Sundays or Saturnday evening.
Classes for K-6th grade at Mt. Carmel begin Sunday, Sept. 13 at 8:50am, with a parent meeting at 8:45am.
The cost of registration for all grades is $50 for the 1st student, $90 for the 2nd, $120 maximum for 3 or more students. You may turn in your registration form after Mass or at the parish office.
Funeral Homily for Fr. Benjamin B. Reese
(Gospel for the Mass, Jn. 19:17-18, 25-30)
by Fr. Dwight P. Campbell, S.T.D.
St. Mary’s Church, Aspen, CO, Sept. 25, 2015
“It is finished” (Jn. 19:30).
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, uttered these last words from the Cross before He gave up His spirit, to signify that His Self-Sacrifice was now complete; His Redemption was now accomplished; He had paid the price for our sins by the offering of His Body and Blood.
The vocation of every baptized Christian is to conform himself to Christ; as St. Paul tells us, it is to “make up in [our] own sufferings what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of His Body, the Church” (Col. 1:24).
In other words, the vocation of every Christian, every member of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, is to be a co-redeemer with Him; to offer our entire lives, especially our sufferings, in union with Christ’s sufferings in order to build up His Body, to spread the Gospel, to atone for sins through and with Christ, to merit grace for the conversion of sinners.
While this is the vocation, the calling, of every Christian, God, we know, in His All-Good and All-Loving Providence, allots to each person a particular share in Christ’s suffering, in His Cross.
Jesus revealed to us that in God’s plan of redemption and salvation, there is a mysterious link between love, suffering, sin and redemption: “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son” to redeem us from our sins by His suffering and death, “so that we might not perish but have eternal life” (cf. Jn. 3:16). And we, the baptized, are part of His redemptive plan.
My own theory is that God only permits those to suffer more who have the capacity to love more; that those to whom God grants a greater share in Christ’s cross have the capacity to love greatly. His grace is always there to sustain us; and if we accept our crosses with patient resignation to God’s will, out of love for Him and for others, offering them in union with Christ, then our sufferings take on infinite value and we truly redeem the world through, with and in Christ. Seen in this light, through the eyes of faith, suffering is a great gift; nonetheless, it remains a great mystery, not easy to accept and understand.
Last Tuesday, on September 15, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows – which was also Fr. Ben’s 57th birthday – Pope Francis issued his message for the 24th World Day of the Sick, in which he said:
“Illness, above all grave illness, always places human existence in crisis and brings with it questions that dig deep. Our first response may at times be one of rebellion: Why has this happened to me? We can feel desperate, thinking that all is lost, that things no longer have meaning.” The Pope said that in these situations faith in God is tested, but it also reveals positive elements – “not because faith makes illness, pain, or the questions which they raise, disappear, but because it offers a key by which we can discover the deepest meaning of what we are experiencing; a key that helps us to see how illness can be the way to draw nearer to Jesus who walks at our side, weighed down by the cross. And this key is given to us by Mary, our Mother, who has known this way at first hand.”
I remember when Fr. Ben first learned he had ALS. It worried him, but he calmly accepted the news. At that time the disease had not progressed far, and he noticed only a slight slurring of speech.
As the months went by his condition worsened; still, he never complained, never took comfort in self-pity. He met the challenges of each day and tried to carry out his priestly ministry in whatever capacity he was able – in what I would call a heroic fashion:
When he could no longer speak clearly, he delivered his homilies through his talking iPad – and some folks commented they liked these homilies better because they were shorter!
He continued to visit the sick in the hospital and the homebound, and when he could no longer speak to absolve from sins or administer the Sacrament of Anointing, he would still bring Holy Communion to them.
Even when he could walk with only great difficulty, he still made it out into the sanctuary for Mass every day, a real source of inspiration for our parishioners; people would tell me they were moved to tears just watching him up at the altar.
In his weakness and debility he exemplified, most powerfully and beautifully, what it means to be a priest of Jesus Christ and to share in His victimhood.
I saw Bishop Daniel Jenky, the Bishop of Peoria, early last week at the funeral Mass of another priest who was my former pastor (Msgr. Robert O’Connor); the Bishop commented that Ben set an example for all of us in priestly ministry, and that he put the rest of us to shame.
Father Ben and I were ordained together on May 25, 1991. Our friendship began a few years later and he introduced me and other priest friends to Colorado skiing. With Ben I skied down many a mountain slope I should never have been on. Ben would always start down first and when he would hear me express doubt he would just say, “C’mon, you can do it”; and I would follow him down – and became a much better skier as a result.
I’m sure we all have our particular memories of Fr. Ben: his sharp mind (of which, I have to admit, I was envious), his quick wit, and his hearty, infectious laugh which would light up any room he was in.
About 10 years ago Fr. Ben and I, along with another priest, conceived the idea of forming a new priestly society in which we would remain diocesan priests but share a common life. We were both released for studies and began composing a rule of life for the society, The Apostles of Jesus Christ, Priest & Victim. I think the title was Ben’s idea, and we all agreed on the basic concept: to be Christ’s modern-day apostles by imitating Him, the High Priest, who offered Himself as the Supreme Victim, the Sacrificial Lamb, for our sins.
As his condition worsened, Fr. Ben would remark to me, “I never thought being a victim would entail this much suffering.” But he accepted it as part of God’s will, God’s plan for him.
Sr. Cordia Marie, the nurse who cared for Fr. Ben at Mother of Good Counsel Home in St. Louis, got to know him quite well over the months he was there. Ben shared with her his hopes, and his fears. Sister told me that Fr. Ben would often say to her, “I’m not afraid of dying”; but what he did fear most was getting worse physically to the point that his active mind would be locked in a body which was completely unable to move or to communicate.
A line penned by G.K. Chesterton has haunted me ever since I read it almost 40 years ago. Describing Our Lord’s agony in Gethsemane, Chesterton says: “In a garden, Satan tempted man; and in the garden, God tempted God.” Jesus, High Priest and Victim, prayed that night, “Father, if it is possible, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Mt. 26:39).
As a priest of Jesus Christ, Fr. Ben offered himself as a living victim: “Whatever God wills, I accept,” he would always say after having contracted ALS. And last Friday, our loving and provident God and Father removed to that cup of suffering which Fr. Ben endured so patiently and nobly.
Sr. Cordia Marie, who was present at the time of Fr. Ben’s death, told me that as his breathing became labored and she knew his end was near, she said to him, “Don’t be afraid.” Ben looked at her, with eyes glowing, and smiled just before he passed; no pain, a beautiful death.
That smile and glowing eyes are a testament to Fr. Ben’s deep faith, and should strengthen our faith and give us comfort at this time of grief and sadness. But there is cause for rejoicing here, for we have no doubt that Ben will rise on the last day with a body glorified – like Christ’s risen body – with no more suffering, no more pain or discomfort; for he daily received the pledge of our future resurrection, the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist; and Christ assures us: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn. 6:55).
Let us return now to the foot of the Cross, the scene described in our Gospel today, which Fr. Ben chose carefully when I prepared with him his own funeral liturgy. Here we see the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Our Lord, her Immaculate Heart pierced by that sword of bitter sorrow foretold by Simeon years before. Mary freely offered her Son’s suffering and death to the Father, knowing that it was the price for our salvation.
Jack and Beverly, as Ben’s parents, we know how much you have suffered throughout all of his illness and now at his death; and Beverly, we all see how your motherly heart is pierced with sorrow.
At this time we must remind ourselves that while Ben is no longer here with us bodily, we remain united with him through Christ, in the Holy Spirit. At every funeral Mass I like to remind people of the beautiful doctrine we call the Communion of the Saints; that within Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, a wonderful exchange of spiritual goods takes place among all the members of His Body: we call upon the saints in Heaven, asking for their intercession; we pray for the souls still atoning for their sins in Purgatory – and our hope is that if Fr. Ben is not yet in heavenly glory, our prayers and Masses offered on his behalf will help him get there soon; and finally, we pray for each other, that God’s grace may strengthen us at this time of loss.
I’ll end here by reciting the Scripture quote on the back of Fr. Ben’s prayer card, which I think sums up his priestly spirit:
“I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith.
In the future there is laid up for me
the crown of righteousness,
which the Lord, the righteous Judge,
will award to me on that day;
and not only to me, but to all
who have loved His appearing.”
(2 Tim. 4:7)
On Friday morning, September 18th, Father Reese died at Mother of Good Counsel Home in St. Louis with Sr. Cordia Marie, his caregiver, at his side praying the Divine Mercy chaplet. His funeral took place on Friday, September 25th in Aspen, Colorado - at his home parish - with Fr. Campbell as homilist. Please see the picture and video embeded below of Fr. Campbell's last visit with Fr. Reese, the day before he died, Thursday, September 17th.
Those who would like to send Mass cards or other notes or condolences to Father's parents, please send to:
Jack & Beverly Reese
1340 Snowbunny Lane
Aspen, CO 81611
For those who have asked about donations, Father had requested that donations be made to Mother of Good Counsel Home (the nursing facility in St. Louis, where he was so well cared for these past months): Mother of Good Counsel Home, 6825 Natural Bridge Rd, St. Louis, MO 63121 http://mogch.org/
"This morning I woke up to a text from my mom telling me and my siblings that Fr. Ben Reese passed away this morning. It's been difficult to process what I felt as I read those words. I've been struggling all day to do so. Father had a difficult battle with ALS, and his humble, brave, and selfless attitude throughout his illness has touched the hearts, and the faith, of many people. But I remember Father before he was that suffering servant of God - as I was growing up, Father was a very important part of our lives - he wasn't just our parish priest (and at three different parishes in two different states, no less), he was a member of our family.
I was six or seven years old when my family first became acquainted with Father Reese at St. Mark's Parish in Peoria, IL, and he quickly became close to us. A decade and a half has passed since then, but he has always been a rock to my family. He encouraged and supported us in every way. He prayed with us. He ate with us. He went on adventures with us. He strengthened our faith through his example. I received my First Communion from his hands. He was my youngest sister's godfather. He baptized my brother. When things were tough and the future was unknown and scary, he was a faithful constant in our lives, and in His providence God allowed for Him to move alongside us pretty consistently. I always figured that when I found somebody to marry that he would be the priest to marry my husband and I. He seemed the natural choice, since he was just so close to us. Obviously, God has another plan. Father is now watching over us, interceding for us. We are going to need his intercession. Every day the world becomes a more hostile and less understandable place. But nevertheless, it is difficult to imagine my life and the lives of my family members without him here with us, even though it's been a very long time since I was able to sit down and have a conversation with him.
As I was at Mass today, my mind couldn't help but think of Father as I knew him throughout the years - the Father who would lace up his hockey skates and race the middle school boys at our parish New Year's Eve ice skating party (I always wished I was that fast, but I was too scared); the Father who worked so diligently to have our parish restored beyond its former beauty, and transformed street mural artists into sacred artists with little more than his faith and vision; the Father who we would supply with Reese's Pieces and a Reester Bunny every Easter (which he was very grateful for, and also thought was hilarious); the Father who would go out to read Shakespeare with my parents; the Father who couldn't sing to save his life, but never stopped doing so at Mass; the Father who, in his gentleness and devotion, not only helped many adult Catholics rediscover their faith, but helped raise a generation of young Catholics who began to develop a genuine love for God as untainted as possible by bad catechesis; witty, sarcastic, Father whose contagious laugh filled up a room; the Father who would come over on Father's Day and eat homemade fish and chips with us, even early into his illness; Father who did so much to bring the people of his parish together (wherever that parish happened to be), especially the families; it is thanks to him that so many of my childhood memories, especially those that revolve around our parish and school, have been so sweet.
Fairly close to the beginning of my college career, I was struggling with some things. I was embarrassed and afraid to bring them up to anyone, but I knew that I would make no personal nor spiritual progress if I didn't try. I emailed Father about those things, and in his email back to me he spoke to me with compassion and understanding. He helped me find legitimate solutions to my concerns, but with all the tenderness of a father, concerned perhaps, but never judgmental. My life since then has never been the same. He helped me get over my fear of spiritual direction and showed me how to embrace the cross. Then, in a second email sent later in the same day, he informed me that he was off to say a Mass for me right then - just for me. That's the sort of man that he was. A beautiful soul who poured himself out totally in service of others, looking to bring them closer to God.
He was also always excited about the fact that I followed in my mother's footsteps and went to TAC, and would ask me about how I was liking the program. He had a great love for the intellectual life.
The last time I saw Father was around Christmastime 2014. I was home from TAC for Christmas break, and he was silently con-celebrating Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Kenosha, WI. His weakness struck me deeply. He was clearly much worse off than before. I couldn't help looking at him, but I didn't want to. It just wasn't right. I wanted to cry. It wasn't fair that someone like him, so full of life and so in love with life and God, had to get sick in this way. I thought about how strong and positive he had always been throughout his illness - how strong and positive he was then, and was until the very end - and it touched me deeply, as it touched so many others. God must exist, I knew then, because of brave souls like his. I am young and strong, but he had a different kind of strength, a better strength - a spiritual strength. That is the strength I would like to have too, someday.
There's so much more I could say about Father, but none of it could really do him justice. He was - is - a beautiful soul. And now he is with God, and can intercede for us all.
We love you, Father Reese.
I would like to thank God for the gift of his life, and the sacrifices he made for all of us along the way. I legitimately do not know where my family and I would be right now if it had not been for his support and prayers. There are countless others who feel this way, too. May he rest in peace - and I know that he will continue to pray for us, as he always did." - Catherine Pitt-Payne
Read Fr. Campbell's Homily from Sunday, July 26th - Part 1 on Understanding the Mass.
Welcome to the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel website! Our Pastor is Fr. Dwight Campbell, S.T.D., and Rev. Fr. Robert T. Mc Dermott is our Associate Pastor. Both are also appointed to the same positions at St Therese Parish in Kenosha. Fr. Campbell and Fr. Reese, (our former Co-Pastor) are Founders of a Society of Diocesan Priests called The Apostles of Jesus Christ Priest & Victim.
We the parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, both individually and collectively, dedicate ourselves to KNOWING, LOVING and SERVING our God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We strive to Know Him better by providing solid, Catholic teaching in our School, CCD Programs and Adult Education Programs.
We strive to Love Him more fully by the faithful and respectful celebration of His Sacraments, especially the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
We strive to Serve Him better by Service to our neighbors, young and old alike, especially those most unable to help themselves.
We pray that with the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel; St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse; all the Angels and all the Saints; we will be true to this mission until we gather again in Heaven with Jesus Christ our Lord.
We are a Christ-centered faith community that believes in Jesus’ love for all people, so hospitality is one of our core values. We are working hard to have a vibrant parish community that can offer something for everyone. We are in the midst of an exciting time. Please use the navigation links at the top of the page to learn more about our parish. You are welcome to join us!