OGDEN — As his final Mass as a priest in active diocesan ministry drew to a close, Father Patrick Elliott acknowledged that those present at Holy Family Catholic Church were there for the liturgy, not to celebrate his retirement.
“We have to remember what’s important,” he said.
Nevertheless, many of those at the July 30 Mass had in fact come to wish him farewell. Among them were Elder Kyle McKay of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Area Seventy, Fifth Quorum and his wife, Jennifer. LDS Bishop Mike King also attended; he and his wife, Bonnie, are assigned to interfaith relations through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Utah Weber Public Affairs.
The Kings have known Fr. Elliott for a number of years, Bishop King said. “Pat … has been such a wonderful friend over the years, and we’ve done some wonderful service projects together.”
Fr. Elliott “has that innate ability to look past lines that get drawn in the sand and recognize that we’re children of a loving god. Together we’ve been able to work on things that are important, things like humanitarian issues,” Bishop King said, adding that the priest has also explained doctrinal differences “so that we can do things like serve people that need help and not let a religious barrier get in the way.”
Sharon Bernard, Fr. Elliott’s sister, traveled from Colorado to attend the Mass. “His journey, like all of ours, has been a struggle, up and down, but I know that this is where God brought him,” she said.
Parishioners also have appreciated Fr. Elliott’s ministry. For example, for the first year that he was at the parish there was no music ministry, so he helped Anna Kubich’s two children, who played the violin, with their music, she said.
“He’s always been there for me, wherever I needed help,” Zoran Sadar said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do when he leaves.”
Fr. Elliott was sent to Holy Family Parish in 2005 to build a new church, “and in my estimation he built one of the prettiest churches in the diocese,” said Dave Donahoe, who is active in many of the parish’s ministries. “It’s wonderful that his legacy is here, and he’ll always be remembered when we’re here because he’s the one that put this church together and put this parish together. We’ll miss him greatly.”
Within six months of his arrival, Fr. Elliott also asked that a Knights of Columbus council be established at the parish, and now almost a quarter of the parish’s men belong to the council, Donahoe said.
At the end of the July 30 Mass, the choir sang “Gaelic Blessing” by John Rutter as a tribute to Fr. Elliott. “It seemed the right thing at the right time,” said the parish’s organist and music director, Myron Patterson. He said Fr. Elliott has been supportive of the music ministry, and in cultivating good quality mu-sic “He’s enabled us financially to do the things we’ve done,” Patterson said.
In retirement, Fr. Elliott plans to live in Salt Lake City, help his fellow clergy “and let my dog, Marcie, take me on longer walks,” he said.