God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

Die While Doing Good For God

St. Therese of Lisieux – Nun and Doctor of the Church.  Picture via Wikipedia

St. Therese of Lisieux – Nun and Doctor of the Church. Picture via Wikipedia

In 1969, I was an associate priest at Incarnation Parish in Palos Heights, a nearby suburb of Chicago filled with gracious people.  On a Sunday morning in November, a young boy about 12 years old, George Kohler by name, approached me after Mass with a request, “I want to be an altar boy.”  I tested him by reminding him of the approaching winter and his losing sleep if he served the 6:30 AM Mass.  Nothing I said deterred him.  He received my approval and promise of help.

The next day, November 11, a National Holiday, while George was riding his bicycle on Ridgeland Avenue, a busy highway, a car struck George and killed him.  What a glorious welcome he received in Heaven with warm embraces from the Lord and His Mother Mary.  At his funeral, my telling his family and friends of his request to be an altar boy on the day before his death gave them much consolation and inspiration.  His memory has always brought one thought to my mind – I would like to die while thinking and doing some good for God.

A Saint, Therese of Lisieux, has always impressed me in my efforts to do good for God.  I have made three pilgrimages to her home in Lisieux, France, situated about 100 miles northeast of Paris in Normandy.  A huge Basilica marks her shrine located on a high hill directly above the town’s railroad station.  As a cloistered nun living behind high walls in her hidden life, she seemed destined to be unknown and have little effect on the world.  Before she died in 1897 at the age of 23, she began writing down her personal thoughts about her “little way” of reaching holiness – to do everything for the Love of God.

After her death her writings received the title “The Story of a Soul”.  Books have short selling life, but her book is the second most selling book after the Bible.  Readers treasure her “little way” of holiness – do all for the Love of God.  In the morning, on rising from bed, I sit there and tell God of my intentions to carry out my duties of the day for Love of Him.  If I die that day, I will have had His Glory and Honor in mind.

On one pilgrimage to St. Therese’s shrine I was waiting in the railroad station, crowded with people for the trip back to Paris.  From my place on the balcony, bald headed man making his way through the crowd.  The man, Yul Brenner, famous star of the movie, “The King and I” made a striking appearance.  Yul wasn’t there on a pilgrimage to Therese.  He lived in a nearby villa in Normandy.

In 2013 whom does the world remember, Yul or Therese, the little nun of the hidden life?  Millions of people and many generations treasure St. Therese and have forgotten or never heard of Yul Brenner.  The book, “The Story of a Soul”, keeps selling in the millions.  Remember her “little ways” of holiness.

                        Fr. George Mc Kenna

January 18, 2014 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , ,


  1. Hi dearest Father George . . . Never knew you were an associate at Incarnation . . .  how wonderful for you and for the Incarnation’s gracious family parish. 

    “Die While Doing Good” is absolutely one of your very best!

    Graditude, blessings and love to you valentine of ours!

    mary lou

    “The Lord will not forget the work you do and the love you show.”

         Hebrews 6:10

    Comment by fathermkenna | January 19, 2014 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George! My heart just fills with more love for you with each post that you put up on your blog. You are such a wonderful person and writer. I am thinking of the wonderful stories that you wrote in your book, the ones that I would read over the phone to my dear mother – and asking her if she’d like to hear another “Fr. George story”. She always said YES! This story is heart-wrenching and beautiful. How comforting for the family to know of young George’s desire to be an altar boy. I’m sure that your wonderful presence in the church was a great motivator for him! I would have loved to be a parishioner at one of your churches where you served. At least I got to hear you and come to know you via the Midway Airport Chapel. It was in God’s plan for us to meet that way.

    I have great love and admiration for St. Therese of Lesieux and will definitely try to take that train to see her shrine when we are in France this year! And, to see Yul Brenner! We took my mom to see “The King and I” when it was on stage at the Airie Crown Theater in Chicago and he was in the performance! Oh, how the audience loved the “Shall We Dance” scene! He even did an encore dance for us!

    This is such a wonderful way to stay in touch with you, Fr. George! I am thinking of you and praying for you daily – for all priests, but especially for you, who continues to teach me and touch my life in such a special way. I love you!


    Comment by nancywest22 | January 25, 2014 | Reply

  3. Fr. George,

    Today’s reading…may he find us waiting on his return with lamps lit and loins girt…A priest friend recalled a sacristan who prepared the altar for Mass, lit the candles, filled the cruets, and informed Father all was ready, and returned to his favorite pew, to say his prayers before Mass. Wherein he passes away. During the procession Father sees his sacristan, checks his pulse and continues with the Mass of the Resurrection. The sacristan had literally lit the candles at his own funeral Mass.

    Thank you for being one who has always been an honor to serve at Mass. I know some of your altar boys who say it was there first introduction to His Kingdom. Maybe young George has something to do with their appreciative nature. Isn’t always our disposition to serve The Lord, in all things, all ways.


    Comment by TaterSoup | October 21, 2014 | Reply

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