By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
January 19 marked the national holiday in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. As many stated, it was a day on rather than a day off. For me that meant that we all had to be on duty as people of peace and justice. We had to be on the path of service to all of our brothers and sisters. We had to be on alert to follow our dreams.
That is why it was so appropriate that many people gathered at St. Rita Catholic Church that morning to celebrate the life of Joseph Jan Collmer. Like his namesake and the Rev. King, Joseph was a dreamer. He was also a man who put out his talents and his resources for the good of all.
I came to know Jan late in his career as he had moved out of Holy Cross parish long before I came there; but I knew his parents and his siblings. They were the solid foundation of his life along with his teachers at Jesuit College Preperatory School.
At one time he got close to an airplane and from then on he dreamed of flying. He did that very well, daring his friends to go up with him for some serious stunt flying.
He also was one of the founders of the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field. So it was most appropriate that “On Eagles Wings” was sung at the end of his memorial Mass.
Also very moving was the “Missing Man Flyover” which took place immediately after the ceremony.
Five planes came in formation over the plaza outside the church. Suddenly smoke billowed from the lead plane and it curved off and away from the other planes.
Jan was looking down on us with the eagles and angels!
On the way back to Oak Cliff, I passed the Freedman’s Cemetery on Lemmon at North Central Expressway. No one was there. Maybe there had been a celebration there earlier, but it was a lonely, beautiful place.
I suggest that it would be a good place of pilgrimage for any of you. Go there and meditate on the forebearers of the Rev. King.
Visit the nearby Calvary Cemetery established by the Catholic diocese in the 1800s. Our ancestors in the faith, priests, nuns and lay persons will inspire you to always be ready to do what they did; to follow their Jesus until death.
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.