We invite readers to send short stories about the ways in which their lives have been personally blessed by the life and work of priests and religious in our diocese.
By Karina Fabian
From a poem by Father Daniel Driscoll:
You might call it kind of strange
But I chase the sunsets
Because in the setting sun there’s hope
In the setting sun is the promise of a new dawn
Father Daniel Driscoll is a priest and poet. He was born and raised in Walkerville, Mont., and ordained in 1976 after attending Carroll College and St. Thomas seminary in Washington state.
He served a couple of months at St. Anne’s in Butte before getting his first assignment at St. Helena Cathedral, where he remained until 1980. He went on to St. Patrick’s in Butte for two years, then a year and a half at Holy Rosary in Bozeman.
In 1983, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked until he returned to the diocese in 1992.
He served first at St. William Parish in Shelby, next as administrator of St. John’s in Fairfield for a year, then at St. Margaret’s in Cut Bank from 1994 to 1996, then six years in the Anaconda Catholic Community and finally two years in Libby as pastor of St. Joseph’s. In 2004, he became pastor of St. Teresa of Avila, where he is today.
As a man of strong emotions, Father Driscoll has a great zest for life. His greatest joy, he said, is celebrating the Eucharist with the parish.
Outside of Mass, he enjoys travel, not only around the United States and Europe, but also in his own home. Over the past 20 years, he has logged 104,000 miles on his stationary bike, re-creating the many trips he’s taken to keep his interest. He enjoys singing and will readily break into song.
He also writes poems, some 40 of which have been published.
Father Driscoll also feels pain very deeply. As such, he said one of his hardest duties as a priest is “celebrating” funerals. Even though they can be a celebration of life, it’s simply not possible for him, particularly as a priest, to remain detached from the pain the family and friends feel, he said.
Here, poetry and song help him not only give but gain solace. He has sung at the funerals of friends; “Our Lady of Knock, Queen of Peace,” especially comforts him. Many of his poems cut right to the heart of someone’s pain, bringing also the comfort of God’s love:
we do not know
we can only console one another
remember only the good that was in his life…
remember God is unconditional love
at all times and in all circumstances
even in the tragedy we now bear.”
To celebrate life, to be there in need, to remind others of God’s great love – these are what the priesthood means to Father Driscoll, chaser of sunsets.
Published in The Montana Catholic, Vol. 21, No. 11, December 16, 2005.