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Assumption Spotlights > Assumption Spotlights August 2017



Assumption Spotlights August 2017




I am the first of twelve children born to Michael James Guimon and Eileen Nora McEneely. Although I was born in Stockton, California, on April 22, 1943, I grew up on the Westside of Chicago and Franklin Park, Illinois. The family moved to Franklin Park in 1948 from George and Cicero Streets.

After kindergarten at main school on Grand Avenue, I attended St. Gertrude’s Elementary School and graduated in June 1957. I sang in the choir until I became an altar boy. Msgr. Stoechel, Fathers Schackmuth, Ahern, Quinlan and Valker were the diocesan priests who not only celebrated the sacraments with us, but us interacted with us in so many different ways.

After graduation, I entered Mater Dolorosa Seminary in Hillside, IL, the Servite minor seminary. If my memory is correct, seven 1957 male graduates entered different minor seminaries. I became acquainted with the Servites on Sundays when they celebrated Mass at St. Gertrude. My cousin also happened to be a Servite. I graduated from high school in 1961 and entered the Servite novitiate at Stonebridge Priory in Lake Bluff, IL. One year and several weeks later, I was aboard an Aer Lingus plane to Dublin, Ireland. I spent the next two years at Benburb Priory in Benburb, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, studying philosophy and discovering what it was like to live in a farm like environment. In 1964 my father was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and I returned from Ireland. My dad died in November 1964 at the age of forty-five.

I finished my undergraduate studies at St. Louis University and graduated in June 1966 with a classical degree in Philosophy. Vatican II was happening and the old isolated, rural style of seminary training was being replaced with a more interactive one situated in the city. I still have vivid memories of walking with Martin Luther King and many others during the civil rights days in Chicago. From 1966 to 1970 I studied theology at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, and Catholic Theological Union in Hyde Park, Illinois. At the same time I was attending Loyola University pursuing a Master’s degree in Education during the summers and at evening classes. I finished my theological studies, graduated from Loyola University and was ordained a priest on June 13, 1970.

My first assignment was Servite High School in Detroit, Michigan. I was the chaplain and guidance counselor for this small parish high school on the Eastside of Detroit. The Servite sisters staffed the school and the Servite priests and brothers staffed the parish called St. John Berchmans. A year after ordination my mother died from breast cancer. She was fifty years old. My brothers and sisters continued living on Emerson Street in Franklin Park. Interstate 94 became well known to me as I traveled it often from Detroit to Chicago and back.

In July 1976 I moved back to Chicago. During those years I worked at Marist High School on the Southwest side of Chicago as chaplain, Director of Religious Activities and guidance counselor. I was also elected assistant provincial (1982-88) and Vocation Director (1985-88) for the Eastern province of Servites. I traveled to South Africa, South America, Ireland, Italy, Australia and various cities in the United States where Servites ministered and lived. As I think back on those years, I wonder how I managed to do all that I did.

In 1988 I took a sabbatical and spent a year at Boston College in Boston, MA. In 1989 I moved to the Bronx in New York City and worked as a chaplain and guidance councilor at Mount Saint Michael Academy. On the weekends I celebrated Mass at our Servite parishes in Carteret and Perth Amboy, New Jersey.

In August 1990, the Prior General of the Order called me to Rome, Italy, to work in our international college located on the Gianiculum overlooking Trastevere, the oldest part of Rome across the Tiber River. I spent four years in Rome struggling with the Italian language and helping young men from India, Africa, Canada, Australia, Swaziland, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina, Mexico, England, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Philippines, and the United States discern their call to religious life while they studied theology.

In June 1994 I returned to the United States and was elected provincial. During the next five years, the leadership of the two provinces in the United States and its friars worked to become one province. Aging, lack of vocations, fewer friars and a desire to create something new pushed and pulled us to achieve this goal. In June 1999 we voted to become one province and I was elected provincial. Four more years as provincial and I was ready to change ministries.

In June 2003, another friar was elected provincial. and I traveled to Berkeley, CA, my native state, to begin a sabbatical year at the School of Applied Theology at Graduate Theological Union.

I loved the Bay so much, I asked the new provincial if I could stay on after my Sabbatical ended. He said yes and I got a job at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center as a chaplain. I worked the Oncology and Critical Care Units and was a member of the Palliative Care Team. My relationship with Death changed during those years. It became my teacher and friend. I remained in this work until July 2012. I was asked to return to Chicago and serve as the Prior of Our Lady of Sorrows Community and Senior Care Minister for the elder friars of the Province.

In December 2013, the North American Conference of the Order asked me to go to Indonesia for two months and learn  something of its culture and language. The reason: four temporary professed Indonesian friars were coming to Chicago to continue their formation process. I was asked to be their Master. In December 2013, four young Indonesian friars arrived. Their first task was to learn English and then study Theology at Catholic Theological Union. Since their arrival, two returned to Indonesia and two professed solemn vows on June 15, 2017. Three more Indonesian friars are in the process of getting their visas and will arrive in Chicago by the end of August.

At the moment, my eleven sisters, brothers and spouses all live no more than a fifteen minute car ride from each other.  I have twenty-five nieces and nephews. and twenty-four grandnieces and grandnephews and one of the way. We gather often for family celebrations.

God has blessed me with many gifts and I thank him each day for the gifts and weaknesses I have. It is with great joy and gratitude that I have been able to celebrate Eucharist with the Assumption Community these past four years and, God willing, for many more years.

Fr. Guimon’s brother Marty and sister in law Deborah are also Assumption parishioners for many years.  Please be sure to say hello to this super friendly Irish family when you see them at mass.  Thank you Fr. Guimon for bringing your warmth to our parish community.  I will always remember how wonderful you were to step in and run the parish when Fr. Dowd was ill so many years ago.  We are blessed to know you.
                                                                                                                       Susan Gold