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Lakota Country Times

Remembering Father Pauly

align=left border=0 img src=clients/lakotacountrytimes/patty.jpg>We lost a real hero last week. Father Bill Pauly died of a heart attack last Wednesday.

I am not a Catholic, however, when I was around Father Pauly. I wanted to be a Catholic. I wanted to have what he had.

Bat and I have put together our wills and wanted Father Pauly to do our services.

Who would have ever known that his Lord would have called him home before us? We simply assumed he would be here longer than us. I guess most of us live as if we are never going to die.
When I think back to what made him special. One was his ability to laugh. I think of his wholehearted belly laugh when he got amused and the full-face smile that went along with it.
We used to have a dentist in Kyle, Dr. Leonard, who was bald, as was Father Pauly. It was always a pleasure to see Father Pauly.

One day my sister and I were having a rummage sale and Father Pauly stopped by. I was busy with customers and introduced him as my dentist.
From then on, every time I saw him, I asked him about his dental practice and we enjoyed one of those good laughs together. At that same rummage sale, my other sister wanted to know who he was 'cause she thought he was hot! Priests cannot be hot can they?

Father Pauly had a dedication to this reservation and the people that live here. With all the problems it is easy to get discouraged.

But as I recall, talking to Father about me being discourage at times, he always had a way of letting me know that the burdens we bear are not too heavy for us and they will pass with time.
He preached at many family funerals. The compassion and empathy he had for others during the time of their losses were conveyed in sincere and very comforting ways.

There was something about him that made you feel better once you had heard him preach or talk to you.

He was a person whose cup was half full, never half empty. He had a bounce in his walk and an expression on his face that could convey without a word, concern or joy.

I do not know much about how Father Pauly grew up. I know it was in Wisconsin. I am grateful that his family gave him up to the ministry so he could bless so many here at Pine Ridge. His family must have a good sense of humor and lots of love.

I would imagine Father Pauly could have gone many places in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. I appreciate that he stayed here.

Father Pauly was courageous when he talked about God and the Church. He would come out and talk to Bat for hours about religion and spirituality. He knew it was important for young men to have sober men to role model after and always encouraged him to keep sober and try to work at the stores to set a good example.
God must have needed a good man up there, because that is exactly what we have lost here. If I sound a bit glum - it is because I am.
I wish he were still here.

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