Publisher’s note: It didn’t take long to fill up by e-mail bin after asking people to share a memory or well wishes as Father Mike Volkmer prepares for his last Mass on Sunday. As the newspaper guy who got to interview Fr. Mike for his 50th year in the ministry and a person who performed with him on the Follies stage, it is no exaggeration at all to say that he is one of the finest professional clergy (of any denomination) that has graced the people of Monroe County.
His last two masses at St. Mary’s will be this Sunday at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Trinity United Methodist Church family
Following are the things people wrote about Fr. Mike.
There are many things I will treasure during Fr. Mike's time at St. Mary's, far too many to list. He is not just our priest, he is our friend and our family...he shows interest in each of us personally. Fr. Mike has been a faithful and loving servant as the head of our parish family. He has taught us all how to be good disciples...if we live and act daily according to the example he has set, we too, will be good disciples doing all we can to make the world a better place. God bless Fr. Mike.
As you continue your journey through life, I'm sending you on with Date Pinwheel Cookies and tea. Who else would travel to South Korea to bring you tea? Hugz,
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church family
In these past 12 years you’ve taken a place in our hearts. You were always there to help us through the good times as well as the bad. You’ve been a wonderful leader who gave us a great example to follow. We have accomplished a lot in the short time you’ve been here working on some great projects We regret not getting you converted to a Hawkeye or Cyclone fan. Being a loyal Husker fan isn’t all that bad though. We wish you well in your new assignment and hope you stop by for a visit to Albia when you can. Thank you for all you’ve done for us and God bless you always.
The Kosman Family
I started attending St. Mary’s around the year 2000. After meeting Father Mike I really felt welcome and wanted. In 2017 I officially joined the church. I wish Father Mike a thank you and well being in his next Endeavour.
Father Mike has always had good direction and focus in his homilies. The one about miscommunciation was outstanding and I think of it often.
I have been a life-long Catholic but have never known a priest who has been such an example of God’s love for all people. His model of hard work ranged from his short but meaningful sermons, visiting the sick and dying (was hospice chaplain), treasurer of the Ministerial Association, attending community events, programs, games, graduations, etc., besides his administrative and pastoral duties at St Mary’s endear him to all not just St. Mary’s parish. Father Mike made a huge change in my life. Because of Father Mike’s influence, I have become a more caring and a much better person. I shall always be indebted to him for the change in my life. My prayers are with you always.
We always liked the friendly smile and hugs Father had for us and everyone. So personable. Bob always wanted Father to look at his watch when we walked in to make sure we were on time (with a smile)…Miss you always.
Bob and Linda Teno
St. Patrick’s Melrose
Father Mike welcomed me into the Albia community like a long lost sister. We hit it off immediately and tried to do some activity together for several years before it all fell into place.
We developed a curriculum for our two congregations to learn from each other around a document that had been signed by the leaders of both the Lutheran and Roman Catholic denominations. About 20-25 people from St. Mary's and St. Paul's Lutheran gathered together weekly over the course of the year to discuss what it means to no longer disagree on 32 articles. We laughed and learned; grew in faith and love. Father Mike treated me as a colleague, an equal, a friend, and his sister in Christ. That year is the highlight of my short tenure as an ordained clergy. Thanks Father Mike
Rev. Nancy Reed
St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
I first met Father Mike while working as an Administrative Assistant for Hospice of Monroe County. After moving to Albia, he became one of our hospice chaplains. I have never met a more humble, caring, kind and compassionate soul. He would always greet with a kind word, a hug or a pat on the back. It didn’t matter if you were Catholic, Protestant or none of the above. Father Mike was never one to judge and always has a kind word, smile, and a twinkle in his eye for everyone he comes across.
Now everyone knows that Father Mike is a highly dedicated Husker fan. And, although I have family who hailed from Nebraska, I couldn’t care less about Husker football. Each week when we would gather for our hospice meeting, he never failed to ask if I had watched the Nebraska game that past weekend, knowing full well I hadn’t. He would just laugh and shake his head.
Father Mike has a true servant’s heart. When any of our hospice patients or families needed Father Mike, he was always there for them and with his gentle demeanor would offer compassion to those who were hurting. Father Mike has been a true “father” to our community and such a blessing to everyone who has known him.
Father Mike, thank you for your service to Monroe County and our surrounding area. This world could use a lot more Father Mikes right now.
Father Mike has been involved with generations in our family. He has shared in our greatest joys and celebrations as well as our family disappointments, struggles and sorrows since he came to St. Marys. His words were always comforting, his advice helpful without ever being judgmental. He truly led by example. His involvement with our local community has been awesome. Who can forget Father Mike performing a rap version of Amazing Grace on stage?!!
We love him in spite of his Nebraska loyalty. God Bless Father Mike!
Tom and Patty Hannam & Family
Father Mike is truly a small gentle giant of a pastor. He knows no stranger and treats everyone equally. He has been a pillar and great support system in the Knights of Columbus. He works alongside parish family in events we hold dear, such as our annual Election Day Dinner and Lenten Luncheons. To say we are going to miss him is an understatement. Father Mike is loved by all. God blessed us when he came to St. Mary’s. He will continue that blessing to those in Liberty, Mo. Love and Prayers.
Jerry and Diane Durian
Thank you, Father Mike, for the gifts and graces you have offered not only to St. Mary’s parish, to the Monroe County Ministerial Association, to the Albia community, but to me personally. So many lives have been nurtured by your care. So many broken souls have experienced rest and renewal within the realms of your hospitality. You have bound the wounds of others, embraced too many grieving lives, offered joy to those traveling the way with you even when you were crying on the inside, and carried others’ burdens when you were too tired to carry your own. So, thank you, even as I realize it’s such a small thing to say in light of the immense gifts you have offered. Thank you for holding open the doorway of your life that God’s light might shine through to illuminate a good pathway for others in this world.
As you move from our community, may you find some time for rest, some time to nourish your own soul and ways to keep you healthy along the way of ministry in this world.
You will be missed, my friend!
First Christian Church
Even though we are not members of St. Mary's in Albia, we have attended Mass there many times over the years. Father Mike always made us feel so welcome and always remembered us. He has a way of making Mass very enjoyable and you can tell how much he loves what he is doing. We will miss him very much and wish him all the best!
Dave and June Kasper
Melrose St. Patrick’s
Thank you for your commitment to faith in our community. You have brought unification among all, as a servant leader. A special thanks for your support and prayers, during Steve's recovery from his accident. On a fun note, it has been great sharing our excitement for Nebraska volleyball the past four years, as Mikaela competed for the Huskers! #GBR! Much Love and Prayers.
Bill and Mary Agnes Wynn
What can we say about Father Mike, he has touched so many lives including ours in such positive ways. He has the ability to make a bad day better with just a friendly hello, smile and that fabulous hug of his. Whether he knows if we are struggling with something or not his timing always seems perfect.
We’re going to miss seeing him at school and community events and seeing how very much our youth and community respects him and loves seeing him. Father Mike is one of Albia’s “Rockstars” and we are going to miss him dearly.
Thank you Father Mike for being one of the best parts of our lives. May this next step in your life be filled with many blessings.
All our Love,
Dave and Cathy Jo Crall
Father Mike is the most devout, friendly and warmhearted person I have ever known. We have coffee and doughnuts after Mass on Fridays. Some days Father would gather up all the cupts and wash them. I said we should be washing the cuts. He said, “I am here to serve.”
He has served the people of Monroe County well, both Catholics and Protestants. He has been active in the Ministerial Association, and has attended community events, and he has an uncanny ability to remember people’s names.
I was in and out of the hospital in 2012-2105 either in Albia or Des Moines. Father came to see me when I was in the hospital in Albia. When I was in the hospital in Des Moines for a month, he didn’t come to see me, but he called every week to see how I was doing. We will miss him when he leaves, but all good things come to an end. God Belss you. Father Mike.
Firest of all, thank you for being our parish priest thse past few years. You have been our “Shining Star.” I cannot think of any specific situation to comment on because you were always kind and thoughtful at all times. So appreciated your hugs (lot less “germy” than handshakes). We will keep you in our prayers as you reminded us every Sunday bulletin that we were in your prayers. God bless you.
Bernard and Charlene Crall
Every once in a while, a great one comes along; a great recipe or a great song or band, or a great coach or even president, but it's rare. Well, when Father Mike came to Albia, we certainly got a great one. He came to us in the midst of the Catholic scandals and has guided us spiritually like a shepherd guides his sheep. It has been a blessing to be one of his sheep. He reminded us about grace and forgiveness and led by example embracing not only his parishioners, but the entire community of Albia. He gave of his time selflessly to herd his flock and tend to the community where his flock dwells. What a wonderful lesson. I am so lucky to have had him as the spiritual leader while raising my boys. I am so thankful for the sermons, prayers, talks, encouragement, compliments, and hugs he has so faithfully shared with my family and me. God knew what he was doing when he sent Father Mike to Albia because He knew we needed a great one, like him. We love you, Father Mike, and we'll miss you like crazy.
I have been blessed by Father Mike’s friendship and have watched in awe as he ministered his faith with kindness, compassion and love to all of Albia. He has celebrated many special moments with us, and his presence always brought a prayerful comfort. I will miss him attending the Altar & Rosary meetings, cheering on all the kids’ events, his beautiful piano playing skills, his thoughtful thank-you notes, hiding his favorite piece of pie and the sense of home he gave to St. Mary’s. Pope Francis said it best,“love is the measure of faith.” You have a faith-filled following because there is no doubt in the love we have for you and you have for us. We were truly blessed by you!
Much love and many blessings,
Each time a change in leadership happens at a Catholic Church everyone wonders who the new leader will be. When St. Mary’s at Albia received our last new leader I am sure no one truly knew what a real jewl we were getting.
Father Mike has been a wonderful priest at St. Mary’s for many years. He has fit in not only with our parish but with the community as well. It didn’t seem to matter to Father if you were a member of his church or another congregation. He always made you feel at home.
Our family was very honored to have Father Mike marry both our children and baptize all but one of our grandchildren. We were also honored to have Father do the funeral masses of both my sister Carol and brother Mike. I will always hold special memories in my heart of a kind, loving, understanding man and friend that I call Father Mike. He will always hold a special place in my heart.
Bob and I wish Father Mike all the best in his new role in Liberty.
Bob and Jean Henderson
The parish family of St. Patrick’s in Georgetown wishes our neighbor and friend Father Mike Volkmer blessings and joy in his new ministry. You will be missed.
St. Patrick’s Georgetown
There is this Priest call Father Mike
St. Mary’s Parish was his delight.
Everyone loved him in our town.
He never does put anyone down.
As the years went by,
They changed many things,
But never the love
That the thought of you brings.
And now the Pride,
And the happiness too,
That comes from having
A Priest like you.
A new Priest will come who we will like,
But there will never be another Father Mike
Mary Smith and “Big Al”
The Father Mike “traits” to be missed
H-Husker Fan (and got away with it!)
E-Entertaining (remember the Follies rap)
E-Energetic (for his age!)
I suppose my favorite moment of my time with Father Mike has to be when he rapped “Amazing Grace” on stage at the Follies. But it’s probably more accurate to say that my most treasured times were when we sang together every time at Mass at St. Mary’s. Musician to musician. Thanks Mon Pere.
Such a kind and loving person. A quiet and humble leader in our Albia community. He’s never forgotten his Nebraska roots or his mission for Christ. GBR!
Every year we have our Thanksgiving Dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving and the last several years Fr. Mike has graced us with his presence. The first year he was to come I was making the gravy and talking to our son Mike, asking him to keep an eye out for him and to please give him a warm welcome. Mike hand’t met Fr. Mike and I was going on and on (and on) about what a wonderful man he was and how much I loved him. Mike finally looked at me and said, Mom…you know he’s taken, right? Well, that made me laugh and it certainly gave Fr. Mike a good laugh when I told him at dinner.
Fr. Mike truly is the most loving, caring, inclusive, non-judgemental person I have ever know, and it feel slike we are about to have a limb amputated with him leaving our parish family. Wishing him every blessing as he makes his new home in Missouri.
Thank you for being a part of our parish family. You brought enthusiasm to the younger generation and of course all of us. You are not only a blessing to St. Mary's you are a blessing to the community as well. You truly made an impact on my dad (Sonny) as well as myself and our family. I will treasure each memory and I truly thank you. Best wishes to your next adventure, you are truly a special man. I know dad would say that he hopes Nebraska has a decent year but Go Hawks.
One of my favorite memories of Fr. Mike was going to confession with him. He might be playing the piano when I showed up. I loved that.
Always had wonderful words of wisdom.