Since his arrival Feb. 29, Fr. David Trask is building for the future at St. Patrick Catholic Church, while also embracing the 40-year foundation laid by the departing Fr. James Reymann.
“I wrote in reflection this past weekend that I’ve only been here for two months, but in a good way it seems like a lot longer,” said Trask. “People have been very welcoming and open. It’s like I’m a family member who’s returned after a long absence. I feel very much like a part of people’s lives after only two months. I think that’s a great benefit.”
Trask admits to struggling with names. He began to solve this problem at his previous parish — Our Lady of Guadalupe in Macedonia — as long as 15 years ago by storing pictures and birthdays in his computer.
“Eventually I exported it out of the computer and into Google Calendar,” he said. “I’ve asked parishioners to send me pictures with their names. I can study those during the week and then if you didn’t introduce yourself on Sunday, I can put a name to a face and call you by name. I find that makes a world of difference.”
On his predecessor, Trask could not have been more complimentary.
“Fr. Reymann has been nothing less than a total gentleman. He’s been very open and very receptive,” he said. “We get together once a week to do lunch or dinner. He’s still very much a part of the parish. He’s here every Sunday for Mass. That made it a real challenge to throw his 92nd birthday party. I couldn’t tell the people at the five o’clock mass that it was a surprise party, because he was sitting there.”
Trask recently started a Facebook page and separate website for the church. This allowed 772 people to see the announcement of Reymann’s birthday party. Family made it to the event, as well as the daughter of Reymann’s first housekeeper, who might not have known without the online invite.
“He wanted nothing to do with a retirement party, so we didn’t throw him one,” said Trask. “I told everyone to write him notes of appreciation, let him know what he means to you, but we can’t give him a retirement party. Some people got him outlandish cards, including me, that poked fun at his age. Then you remember that not everyone makes it 92, and it’s a reason to celebrate.”
According to Trask, the retirement age for Reymann when he reached it was 70, before recently being raised to 75. Reymann applied for 22 one-year extensions in the years since before retiring.
“He’s got a place just across from the football field,” he said. “He still has his boxer, Patrick. You’re never going to separate those two.”
Trask looks forward to putting his stamp on the parish, while also recognizing what doesn’t need improvement.
“People will always ask, ‘What are you going to change?’ You don’t necessarily change a lot,” he said. “You build on what was good. One of the things about Fr. Reymann that I want to build on is being a father to everyone in the parish, to know a lot of people personally. There’s a lot of names that I know after two months, there’s some that I’ve heard six times and can’t remember. That will improve with time. If I know who you are, then it’s very easy for us to talk.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Jonathan Delozier | Wellington Enterprise David Trask hopes to bring new ideas to St. Patrick’s while retaining old ones that work well.