Sometimes one God moment caresses another sacred happening. Recently, I received the sad news that a dear friend, Steve Cogdill, a Fourth Degree Garrigan Assembly Knight of Columbus, a parishioner of St. Boniface Church in Sioux City and a fix-it-all helper for the Scooter Chaplain had died.
Only minutes later, I began praying Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours for Friday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time. Suddenly the following gentle words settled in my heart like the dew-fall we hear at each daily Mass (1 Corinthians 2:9). “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
I wanted to insert Steve’s name in place of “for those,” but my blurry eyes and sobs prevented me from finishing the Canticle of Mary and the intercessions, especially “Merciful God, hear the cries of the dying, comfort them with your presence,” and the antiphon “Have mercy on your people, Lord.”
The 4th Degree is often known as “The Patriotic Degree.” They participate visibly in standing up for the unborn and the elderly at pro-life events, proudly serving the country and glorifying God by serving our communities and nations, as though Christ were the one being served.
Steve was a superb example of these qualities. If a person wondered about his value system, he needed only to read the many different shirts he wore, promoting grandchildren, children, obedience to one’s spouse (the outgoing message on his phone indicated his wife Barb – married since 1962 – wouldn’t let him answer calls) and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The 1958 graduate of Onawa High School served in the U.S. Army, 1958-61. He was a supervisor at Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. for 35 years, retiring in 2000. Steve and Barb spent years volunteering with Iowa KidSight, a collaboration between the University of Iowa and the Sioux City Noon Lions Club that screens pre-schoolers for vision problems.
The lyrics of one of the folksongs of the ‘60s states: “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I hate to wake you up to say good-bye. So kiss me and smile for me. Tell me that you’ll wait for me. Hold me like you’ll never let me go. Oh, babe, I hate to go. Every place I go I’ll think of you. Every song I sing I’ll sing for you. So kiss me and smile for me . . .”
Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.