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Sunday, March 24, 2013

" You are never too old to Begin"--the story of Fr. Erbe

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 "You are Never Too Old to Begin"--Memories of Fr. Erbe Eight years ago, Fr. Erbe was still the pastor of St. Paul's Church. It was a "donut Sunday" which meant that after Mass everyone gathered in the lower level to have coffee and donuts and chat.My mother-in-law, Alyce Hector, was visiting and we were celebrating her 72nd birthday. When Fr. Erbe came over to our table. I introduced him to Alyce and then asked her to "tell him the news. " "Well," Alyce said, " I just bought my first computer, and I am having all sorts of fun with it." Turning to Fr. Erbe, I said, "Do you know what that means for you?" "No," he replied, "What?" "Well," I said, "You are next." Fr. Erbe was 70 at that time, and did admit that he had been thinking of getting a computer. Two weeks later I got the call. " Come quick." "I just got the computer and need help pronto," Fr. Erbe said. When I got to the rectory, I went to the upper study, where it looked like Christmas Eve, with boxes all over, with wrapping paper and manuals everywhere. I had been in the computer business, owing a used computer store, and I recognized that Fr. Erbe had bought "The Works". He had even bought the typing voice recognition program. He had been a salesman's dream. I cleared a path thru the paper and sat down at the computer desk, and said," I think we're a little late for reading manuals, so lets just plunge in." I installed the browser and opened up Yahoo. Then, as Fr. Erbe sat next to me, I tried to think of a way to explain it all simply. "Well, all of good and evil is here on the browser line. Just type in what you want, and presto it appears. Like magic. Where should we begin?" "The Tablet," he replied. I typed it in and hit search. It is a British religious weekly paper covering events of the Catholic Church all over the world. After it popped up and he read a little, he was very, very excited. "Wow," he said, "This is going to save me a lot of money on subscriptions." Then he proceeded to show me a list of 20 other magazines or books that he had an interest in. I was stunned. Fr. Erbe had the range of interests and reading habits of a 30yr old. Over the next two years, at Mass he would just say "See me" at communion and I knew that some technical consult was required. I was always amazed at the people around the world that he had met online and the books that he explored. "You are never too old to begin, " he would say. Few folks know that after Fr. Erbe left Evansville, he began seeing patients at St. Mary's Hospital in his power wheelchair. Speeding in the halls and bringing his message of cheer to patients and families. The spirit of Fr. Erbe lives on in Evansville. You are never too old to begin. Posted by Evansville Observer at 12:03 PM Posted by Evansville Observer at 7:09 AM

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