Fonticulus Fides

Friday, March 28, 2008

May God rest his soul and speed him to Heaven...

Please, if you are reading this, pray for the soul of Father Zygmund Rydz, who died this past Monday.

Born in Poland, he entered seminary but his country's capitualtion to the Nazis forced him to leave. At one point, he dove into a ditch to avoid being shot by a German fighter plane. As bullets pocked the ground all around him, he implored the Virgin Mary for protect and indeed, all his companions were killed, but he was spared. Once more, he escaped certain death, and then was able to re-enter seminary on a scholarship provided by the British Empire. He later sailed to the United States -- again, miraculously avoiding death at sea -- and became a priest here in the Diocese of Lincoln.

During Holy Week, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priesthood with great joy. In fact, his days always began with a brisk walk and then a quick drive to the Diocesan office chapel, where he sang Mass daily. He always fetched his former housekeeper from her assisted living center to take her to Mass and return her home in time for lunch, and then he'd go back to the priest's retirement home for his own lunch and an afternoon of prayer and playing classical music on his violin.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Father Rydz just two weeks ago, and he was so hale and hearty and completely full of joy. May God bless this good and faithful servant. Please pray for his soul. I'm so sorry to have to miss the Rosary that will be said for him tonight in another town...I will say my Rosary for him tonight at home.

I learned this morning that he went very peacefully. He had his usual morning routine, including Mass and breakfast, and then returned to the retired priest's home, sat down in a chair in his room, and died, with a smile still on his face. Maybe you had to have met him, but that just sounds exactly right for Fr. Rydz.

God bless him, God bless him, and may God please bring all of us more priests like him!



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