So long, Monsignor Daz

Friday, Jun. 10, 2011
So long, Monsignor Daz Photo 1 of 2
During his retirement party, Monsignor Rudolph Daz (center) reacts to a story told by Monsignor J. Terrence Fitzgerald about a dog he once had. Also shown are (right) Bishop John C. Wester and (left) Master of Ceremonies Ed Ortega. IC photo/Marie Mischel
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

BOUNTIFUL — Monsignor Rudolph Daz, who has been pastor of Saint Olaf Catholic Church for the past 22 years, was remembered as a constant supportive presence by his parishioners during a retirement party on his behalf on June 5. Msgr. Daz has been a priest with the Diocese of Salt Lake City for 57 years.

"He was always there … celebrating our successes and our victories and comforting us during our sad times," said Master of Ceremonies Ed Ortega, who also is past president of the parish's pastoral council and Grand Knight of the St. Olaf Knights of Columbus Council. "Msgr. Daz is an integral part of St. Olaf, and is also an integral part of us as individuals. We are very appreciative of his constant example of faith."

The event included original songs performed by the students of Saint Olaf School and Deacon Manuel Trujillo.

"We hate to see the Monsignor leave this church," said John Kenney, who with his wife, Paula, is a parishioner who has known Msgr. Daz since he came to St. Olaf.

Kathy Jones, another longtime parishioner who is a past president of the diocesan Council of Catholic Women and is now the organization's national treasurer, recalled Msgr. Daz's spirituality and his sense of humor, as well as the care he gave to each person. When her husband died, Msgr. Daz had a commitment to another parishioner, but still stopped by the memorial service and said a prayer for Jones, whose husband wasn't Catholic. "He always made time for anyone who needed him, and more," she said.

Mike Willhard, past Grand Knight of the St. Olaf Knights of Columbus Council, also sits on the parish's finance council. He said Msgr. Daz was not only a good steward of the parish funds, but he also was present at all the parish events. "That's his nature, just being humble and very faithful," Willhard said

Among those who spoke at the retirement party was Monsignor J. Terrence Fitzgerald, who has known Msgr. Daz since high school. Msgr. Fitzgerald said Msgr. Daz learned several things from his mother, including how to cook and "a tremendous love for the sick, the elderly and the homebound," Msgr. Fitzgerald said. "I've never known a priest who is more generous with his time."

In his homily at the Mass preceding the reception, the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, called Msgr. Daz "a perfect example of this kind of discipleship, this kind of surrendering to the will of God, this way of following Christ, who leaves us and yet comes back to us in an even deeper way…. We see in Msgr. Daz an example of one who recognizes Christ as the giver of every good gift."

Msgr. Daz is a man of faith, a man who "is consumed with daily prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He is more faithful to that than even swimming, and that's saying a lot," said the bishop, referring to Msgr. Daz's daily exercise. "It is clearly at the center of his life."

In addition, "Msgr. Daz is a man of tremendous love; first and foremost, of the love of Christ and the love of Christ's people," the bishop said. He also recalled Msgr. Daz's kindness, gentleness, patience, humor and simplicity. "These are all aspects of his love for God and his love for others," Bishop Wester said. "He is a great example of surrendering himself to Christ and remembering that Christ is always with us until the end of time."

Msgr. Daz will celebrate his last Mass at St. Olaf on July 31, then move to Saint Joseph Villa in Salt Lake City; the parish presented him with an easy chair as a parting gift.

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