On October 7, 2012, the Korean Martyrs’ Church in Chicago, Illinois, hosted a 50th Anniversary of Ordination for Columban Fr. John Smyth. It was a gala affair!
A very special aspect of the occasion was the presence of John’s sister-in-law and two of her sons. They flew over from Ireland especially for this celebration.
It started with a Mass at 10 a.m. Sunday morning in the church which was packed to overflowing. Fr. John was the main celebrant, along with about a dozen concelebrants. Columban Fr. Donal O’Keeffe, the Columban Regional Director in Korea, gave the homily, outlining Fr. John’s pre Columban life and then his life as a Columban – first in Korea (1963-1992) and then at the Martyrs’ Church in Chicago (1992-present).
After the Mass, there was a congratulatory ceremony in the church. Columban Fr. Tim Mulroy gave a message, alluding to Fr. John’s love of football (soccer) and sports. Songs, flowers, and other congratulatory messages followed. Finally, Fr. John himself gave a message of thanks to all and some reflections on his 50 years of missionary priesthood.
A luncheon and fun entertainment followed in the parish hall.
In the evening the parish hosted a formal dinner for local Korean priests and some of their leadership people, who were unable to attend the Sunday morning celebration. Plenty of fun and laughter followed the meal, as Fr. John and guests were “roasted” by the master of ceremonies. It was truly a celebration fitting the Korean tradition!
After many years in Korea, Columban Fr. Chuck Lintz now lives and works in Bristol, Rhode Island.