Parish Pioneers

Claude & Mary Barkmeier

We first joined the parish in 1961; then after moving out of state, rejoined the parish in 1974.

Claude: A memory I have about the early years, Fr. Webber, an assistant priest, came to the house when we first registered in the parish to welcome us to the parish and to bless our home. I also remember Fr. Robert Syrianey. There were lots of parties, and Father was very good at raising money for the school and convent.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Our Lady of Fatima Pastor, 1988-2006

Bishop R. Walker Nickless, Our Lady of Fatima Pastor, 1988-2006

Mary: When our son John was in 1st grade at the school, Fr. Syrianey promised the parish hall to us for a get-together for an orphanage that we were helping as a ministry. The day of the event we found out that Father had double-booked the hall, so we had our get-together in the school library.

Claude: A significant person that impacted my faith life was Bishop Walker Nickless, the whole time he was there, in residence and as pastor. I was on the parish council that Bishop Nickless started, and he wanted to know what people (parishioners) think. Mary added that Bishop Nickless was not wishy washy, and she liked that, and he made improvements at the school, especially keeping it strong in its Catholic identity and spiritual practice.

Funeral Ministry, June 2003 (left to right) Mary Gustafson, Mary Barkmeier, Norma Beri, Adeline Smith, Pat O’Hayre, Vi Harris

Funeral Ministry, June 2003 (left to right) Mary Gustafson, Mary Barkmeier, Norma Beri, Adeline Smith, Pat O’Hayre, Vi Harris

Mary: The funeral ministry has been an important group I have belonged to and led. In 1987, Pat O’Hare asked Monsignor Harley Schmitt if she could start the ministry of serving a meal for families in the parish hall following a funeral. I started leading the ministry in 1993. It has always been a blessing for the families to have a meal after their loved-one’s funeral.

Claude: An important prayer request that I remember being answered was when I prayed that I would be with my dad when he died. My dad lived in Ray, CO and he came to our house for Thanksgiving. During that visit, my prayer was answered.

Mary: I think belonging to OLF parish helped us raise our kids Catholic, providing them with Catholic friends. I saw this specifically with our daughter, Catherine, as she became a very positive influence on a neighbor girl.