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Golden Jubilee Celebration Held To Honor Father Lowell Will

Father Lowell Will, center, celebrates Mass with his brother priests from left Father John Boeglin, Father Pascal Nduka, Father Kenneth Walker and Father James Koressel. The Message photos by Trisha Hannon Smith

At a celebration held at St. Clement Parish and well-attended by hundreds of family members, friends and fellow clergy members, Father Lowell Will reflected with wonder on his 50 years of priestly ministry.


“The Lord gave me these 50 years, and I have nothing to do with it. I wonder how many Masses one has (celebrated) in 50 years?”


By his calculations, the number is close to 20,000. The gift and mystery of the priesthood was the focus of Father Will’s homily during the Mass of Thanksgiving celebrating his Golden Jubilee on March 4. He recalled his classmates from freshman year in the seminary, and told the congregation that only six of the more than 100 students were ordained. By his recollection, Father Will is the only one of the six still active in parish ministry.


“I am an endangered species,” Father Will said, laughing.


Father Will was ordained to the priesthood in Innsbruck, Austria, on March 2, 1968. He celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph Parish in Vanderburgh County on Aug. 4, 1968. Father Will has served as pastor of St. Clement Parish in Boonville since 2002. Throughout his priestly ministry, he has served parishes in all four diocesan deaneries. He also has taught in three diocesan high schools – Mater Dei, Reitz Memorial and Washington Catholic.


“Today, I thank God for this gift of priesthood,” he said. “All of you have been a great grace to me. God works through all people.”


Twenty priests from the Diocese of Evansville concelebrated Mass with Father Will. Family members from the Brune and Will family, who gathered earlier in the day for a family reunion, participated in the readings and Prayers of the Faithful. Father Will noted that the same cousins who carried Offertory Gifts at this Mass also participated in his Masses of Thanksgiving at St. Joseph Parish for his 25th, 40th and 45th anniversaries.


Following the Mass of Thanksgiving, a dinner was held at the Warrick County 4H Center in Boonville. Guests enjoyed time together and with Father Will, recounting many memories shared over the past half-decade. Among those in attendance was Father Kenneth Herr, retired priest of the diocese, who also celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priestly ordination on March 2.


“Pray for your priests and pray for me,” Father Will told the crowd.