A Love Letter to One Oblate and all Oblates

Dr. Sia Lo,

Dr. Sia Lo,

(Editor’s note: This appreciation, by Dr. Sia Lo, parishioner at St. Patrick’s in St. Paul, MN, was written for the occasion of Fr. Harry Winter’s transition to reduced active ministry status. It is strikingly similar to countless other reflections made by individuals whose lives have been touched by Oblates who have dedicated their lives to be, “Close to People.” So, this expression of love and appreciation is presented as a reflection on all Oblates everywhere, and the people who love them.)

By Dr. Sia Lo

On behalf of the Catholic Hmong congregation here at St. Patrick, I want to Thank you Father for bringing us to this church.  Without you, we might not be here today.  So thank you so much for everything that you have done to find us a home.

About a Century or so ago, it was other Oblate Priest from France like you that found our people in the Jungle of Laos.  They risked their lives to find us in that jungle.  Once they found us, they took the time to learn our culture and our ways–in order to truly to teach us about our lord and saver Jesus Christ.

When they found us, we did not have a written language and so they create one for us.   Using the roman characters, they develop our written language for the first time.  Today, all the Hmong around the world can communicate with each other through writing or through the use of the internet– thanks to our Oblate priest.  In fact, every time I write in Hmong, I cannot help but think about them.st patrick st paul, mn

When we were refugees in Thailand, the Catholic Church was instrumental in bringing our people into the U.S. and Minnesota.  It was the Charity of the Catholic church that cloth and fed many of our families until we were able to provide for ourselves.  So, our community are truly indebted to you and the Catholic Church.

But of all the good things that the catholic church has done for us, we are most thankful for our Oblate Priest —and especially you today father for being who you are.  For you are a true representative of Christ here on earth.  Through Christ, you clean our souls every Sunday with holy water and protect us from Evil.  Through Christ you taught us the blessing of heaven and the true purpose of life.  Through the power of Christ, you have lead us to be closer to God and for that we cannot thank you enough.

Close with a Poem by Easter Almuena—Always for Others

You are the image and likeness of God

But with you the morning awakens

With the call to rise

Not for you

But always for others


God handpicked you from a myriad of souls

Molded you since you were babe

To prepare you for a journey

Not for you

But always for others


God blessed you with wisdom

To use to give form to his plans

And love to carry them out

Not for you

But always for others


Mary walks with you

Guiding and loving you

For to her you are a Christ

Not for you

But always for others


You hold the body of Christ

Embrace his name and proclaim it

And a father and counselor have become

Not for you

But always for others


God forever bless you

Walk and carry you when your feet are weary

Bring peace and joy to your heart

For though your life is never for you

It is Christ’s and he delights in you