On December 27, 2011, my lifelong pastor and mentor went to meet Jesus. Father Bernard Reiser served at Epiphany parish for over 50 years. He was loved and respected by many simply because he loved and respected many. I have never encountered another human being who lived such a servant’s life. Father Reiser lived by example, teaching people to care about those around him.
One of the magnificent projects Father Reiser founded was Reiser Relief to support the poor in Haiti. After visiting Haiti in the 1990’s Father Reiser said, “You can’t walk away from misery and do nothing.” Visit his website to watch the video of Father Reiser receiving one of 2011 KARE 11’s Eleven Who Care Awards.
At Father Reiser’s funeral his niece shared four principles that her uncle lived by:
1. Find Something You Like to Do and Do it!
2. Treat People with Kindness and Respect.
3. Ask What You Can Do for Others.
4. Thank God You Are Here and Start Each Day with Joy!
His famous word was “excellent.” Father Reiser would ask, “How are you doing today?” and taught his congregation to never respond with anything less than “Excellent!” His philosophy was that we are to live each day with excellence–doing the best we can with what we have.
When Shawn died, Father Reiser told me, “Jennifer, you will not believe me now. But, every day following Shawn’s death will be more wonderful than the day before. God-willing, find me in heaven and let me know if I was right. God has used Shawn to help so many people. And when you get to heaven you will see how glorious His plan.”
My husband Steven had the honor to meet with Father Reiser one on one before we were married. Father Reiser asked him what he likes to do. Steven shared his love for ski racing and coaching and Father Reiser told him, “This is what you are passionate about, this is what you need to do.” He knew that people do their best at things they love to do.
Father Reiser was a humble servant who selflessly spent a lifetime serving and helping others. I will honor his legacy by offering my best daily–finding what I love to do and doing it. Would you join me by doing the same? I can think of no better honor.