2cornucopias

Fr. Conrad L. Kimbrough – Part III Catholic

In 09 Faith Journey on 2012/07/24 at 8:39 AM

I have never been in a parish which did not have at least one vocation, to the priesthood or the religious life.  That is in the Episcopal Church as well as in the Catholic Church, with the exception of the first Parish I had in the Episcopal Church.

There have been so many that have shown interest and many of them have not continued their vocation to  its fulfillment.  But they have at least tested themselves by entering religious orders, at least, for the postulancy or the novitiate.  When I was in the parish in Greensboro, which I have not mentioned before, this vocation job has reached its fulfillment, I think.  We had about 9 or 10 men who applied for admission to seminary and there were 3 young women who entered the religious life.  Two of the young men did not continue in their studies for the priesthood, which means that there were 9 are in Seminary or who have become priests.  Several of them are in the diocese of Charleston.  One is the chancellor and another has old St Mary’s church in Greenville, and has been a great success there in redecorating the church, and in planning a new church.

There are others who have fulfilled places of importance in the church.  When I was first ordained it was my prayer that some priest greater than I might be raised up under my influence.  I think this has been fulfilled several times over, with the wonderful priests that have come out of Greensboro, especially.

Most of the time that I spent in the pro life movement was in Greensboro.   It was there that I was twice arrested, once in Greensboro and once in Charlotte, for blocking abortion clinic doors.  That was an experience that I shall never forget.  It did not have the horror that I thought it might have.  I remember that when we appeared before the judge, I was the first one to appear, so I knew that what I said would influence those coming after me in the trial.  I said I could not fulfill his desire that I pay court costs, or promise not to visit an abortion clinic for at least a year.  I said:  “I’m sorry your honor, I cannot do that.”  And with that, he sentenced us all to prison terms of one length or another.  I remember that I served for a little over a week together with one of the Greensboro parishioners from St. Pius.  We entered prison together and were there for the whole time.  The prisoners called me “Father”, and because the other one that was with me carried a Bible as I carried my office book, they called him “Father”, and he said “NO, I am not a priest”.  So they called him “Brother”.  It was quite interesting.

I was also sentenced for a weekend in Charlotte.  I remember one of the boys that was with me who is now a priest in the diocese of Charleston.  Someone called his mother and said “Do you know where you son is”.  This matter having appeared on the TV evening news. The mother said “no” and she said: “He is in jail.”  So his mother immediately called me to find out what was going on.  The funny thing is that I was the one in jail, not her son. I did not get the phone call, naturally. It was quite an interesting experience.  And then when I was in jail in Charlotte, it was quite different.  We did not have any work to do there; we sat around all day on our bunks.  When the time for meals came we had chairs to sit in at a table but then they were put away as soon as we were finished, and we went back to sitting on our bunks.  I had really enjoyed more the other prison where we had work to do every day.  It made the time pass more quickly.  Every evening I would sit between the dining room and the dormitory where I would talk to people about troubles in their lives.  Quite interesting there too.

In addition to this work in the pro-life field,  we had processions with praying the rosary.  There were many other meeting that I attended with those who were against abortion.  And I remember, it was there that I became really active in the pro life movement.  An Auxiliary Bishop of NY came down to Greensboro. He told of his experiences and I suppose he had been in prison as much as anyone.  He has since died.  I was so terribly impressed by this man, and I said to myself:  “If he can do it, then I can do it”.  That is when I made my decision to block the clinics, to stop mothers from killing their babies.

I happen to know that 25 % of those who are turned away from abortion clinics, never return.  So, in that way, I believe a number of lives are saved.

First of all, I become active in the Cursillio movement.  That was when I was first ordained.  I enjoyed that movement very much and what it meant to me.  At first I was reluctant to go, and even after I got there I was reluctant.  But I was completely converted and became very active in the Cursillio movement.  For a while, I was The Spiritual Director for the Diocese of Charlotte.

A little while later on I became involved in Marriage Encounter. That started when I was in Lenoir, and carried over while I was in Greensboro.  I participated in a good number of the marriage encounter sessions that were held through out the Diocese and other Dioceses as well.

There is not time enough in a priest’s life to give himself to more than one of these renewal groups at a time. I finally also became interested in the Marriage Encounter movement.  This too I enjoyed very much.  As a priest, I conducted many of the sessions of marriage encounter.

But then finally, in Greensboro I became really active in the pro life movement so there was not much time to work in the other movements I have mentioned.

I served in Greensboro eight years and, God called 9 young men of the parish to become priests and 3 young women became religious.  And it was especially a happy time to attend the ordinations of those young men who had become converts to the Church.  There were others that were “cradle Catholics” who also became Priests.

That  makes up pretty much what I did in Greensboro, and then I went to Holy Spirit Church  in Denver, NC, for a short time.  And then from there I entered retirement.  I returned to my family home in Salisbury upon my retirement, and was very happy there for a good long time.  Just about 10 years. And then I became ill with a number of difficulties. First of all, I was sent to the hospital to be examined and then I was sent to another hospital to be treated and then finally I was found on the bedroom floor of my house where I passed out.  By some chance the front door was left unlocked and a nurse came by.  I don’t know who she was; I have never been able to find out.  Why she was there I don’t know.  Except She was there as some sort of public health situation.  At any rate she came in and found me on the floor.  And I woke up in the public hospital in Salisbury.  In the hospital I developed double pneumonia, so I was not able to do very much.  I lay there in bed, and in terrible terrible pain.  I had recently had back surgery and that did not seem to totally solve my pain problem.  The back surgery was necessary.  But still later I found out that my hips were a problem too, as well as my back.  So the doctor who examined my hip with x-rays, told me there was no reason to come back.  He did not recommend another surgery and said I would have to be content with taking pain pills for the rest of my life.  And just endure what pain there was, which was considerable.

When I was able  to leave the hospital after double pneumonia, I came here to Maryfield, and this film is being made in the chapel, at Maryfield.  There is an Adoration Chapel just behind the Altar here and it is a place of real devotion, and I am very dedicated to the Sisters who have done so much for me.  When I came here I was lying on my back in bed and hardly able to move, and now I have gotten much better even more than the doctor expected. And I am able to get around with a wheel chair and a walker and do a little walking by myself.

I thank God for all that has happened,. I am able to say Mass here, and concelebrate every day.  On Tuesday of every week I celebrate Mass by myself.   A special Altar is put up here in the nave so I don’t have to go up to the large Altar.    God has certainly blessed me in my life and I am very thankful to Him. I am grateful to all those who have assisted me and those that have led me to this place.

I have had the joy of instructing at least one person in the Catholic faith here and have seen him baptized and confirmed and now he serves at the altar on Sunday mornings.  I am very satisfied to see that I am able to keep going.  I hear confessions frequently and preach my Mass on Tuesday, and in every way I think God has blessed me.  I see few people here that are very unhappy.  I have enjoyed Maryfield, thoroughly.  I have been present at the death of two retired nuns while I have been here and have been able to assist others in their troubles.  I have tried my best to turn their vision elsewhere and look toward God to see how many blessings have come their way.  So I am happy to present this film to you about my life and about the end to which it has come here in Maryfield.

If I should be able to care for myself I plan to return to Salisbury, but I leave that entirely in God’s hands. I do want you to know how happy I am here and how much the Sisters have done for me, and how happy life can be, as long as we turn everything over to God and allow him to have his way with us.

Thank you for listening.  It has been a pleasure talking to you.

Fr.Kimbrough died in July of 2011.  May his soul rest in God’s peace.

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