In Memorial:   Fr. Leo Sprietsma, Franciscan Pastor of Saint Anthony’s Catholic Community.   Note:  Over the weekend of  May 15, 2020, Fr. Leo Sprietsma went Home to God .  He was the Pastor of Saint Anthony’s for many years. 
The family has asked us to wait until September (TBA) for a memorial.
Tributes are coming in and will be posted here.  Thank you Fr. Leo for your life well lived among us

On May 18, 2020, at 8:35 PM, Mary Humphreys wrote:

Dear Ones,  I received an email from Fr Mel that our beloved Fr Leo joined the Communion of Saints during the weekend. He was 92. When the restrictions of the pandemic are lifted, there will be a celebration of life at SB Mission for all the friars who have passed during this interim of social distancing. We will be informed when the time comes. I have no other details. 

 So let us give thanks for our Brother Leo and celebrate his goodness, his faithfulness, his discerning leadership. What a blessing to us, and we as well to him.
Blessings and love 


There You Are

for Fr. Leo, St. Anthony’s Community

   “In Athabaskan, there is no word for goodbye.

We just say Tiáa, which means ‘see you.’

If we don’t see you here, we’ll see you someplace else.

When does your mouth say goodbye to your heart?”

–Mary Tall Mountain

Wherever you go   there you are

and we are and God is

your goodness that never fails

as we stand on the edge

where we have been all along

but when we heard the news

of your leaving for Tucson

it came too soon    too soon

as every parting does,

though God prepares us daily,

sun sliding into the pocket of the sea

with its brilliant flash

then rising again each morning

like an answered prayer.

So we hold each other’s hands

in the shaking of our spiritual world,

strong in our faith

the task of remapping ahead.

As you walk on

  (though no one can fill your shoes, a box

  of yours left behind in the packing, you say)

we remember what you’ve often taught—

Love is all that endures!

Blessed we have had your presence

this long so long

your spirit and wisdom,

your chuckle, that twinkle in your eye

like the morning light,

you are never farther away than here—

in our hearts—there you are.

*(Perie Longo  9 May ‘10)

Hello Perie.
When this message arrived from Mary Humphreys, I thought about the poem you’d written, and shared with everyone present, as we paid our goodbye tribute to our dear pastor Fr. Leo before he moved away. 
Although the actual title of that wonderful poem may not have been “His Got-up and Go, Got Up and Went,” that is what came instantly to mind for me when I learned that he had joined the Communion of Saints over the weekend.
Perfectly fitting…
Mary Brown

For Fr. Leo (to the tune of Freire Jacques)

Fr. Leo, Fr. Leo
Our shepherd, our shepherd.
We are priests you tell us.
We are priest you tell us.
Yes we are; yes we are.

Fr. Leo, Fr. Leo
Living like St. Francis.
Living like St. Francis.
Yes you do; yes you do.

St. Anthony’s, St. Anthony’s
Our leader, our leader
You preach the deep gospel.
You preach the deep gospel.
Yes you do; yes you do.

Fr. Leo, Fr. Leo
50 years; 50 years
In a life of service
In a life of service
For the Church, for the Church.

Fr. Leo, Fr. Leo
You are wise, you are wise
Let the bishops listen
Let the bishops listen
That’s our hope, that’s our hope.

Many more years, many more years
Here with us, here with us
This we what we wish for
This is what we hope for
With our God, with our God.
For Fr. Leo on his 50th Anniversary

A lion you are, Fr. Leo,
your shock of reddish hair
tinged with a little silver
as you scan the droughted plains
of the church, watching, waiting,
listening for those places
that could weaken faith.

And when the moment strikes
you speak out, your voice
rolling in a gentle growl
with words that lift us
up from the twists and turns of time
and shine your mind, you do,
on the dank chill.

What greater gift could we have?
a priest who understands
broken trust, speaks out
in the name of truth, takes charge
at the most dangerous crossroads.
Lions are often unpopular
but here you are loved.

Fifty years is but a twitch,
thinking of eternity, but your strength
goes beyond, your generosity of spirit
remains always in the care you take,
have taken with us all. And always
you look on the light side,
draw us to the light, help us laugh
and we are blessed in the name of God.
*(Perie Longo is a  Former Poet Laureate from Santa Barbara, California and a member of Saint Anthony’s Community)

Fr. Leo’s Tributes from Saint Anthony’s Community  May 18-   .  2020

On Monday, May 18, 2020, JUDITH MCDERMOT wrote:

Why did the song, “When the Saints go Marching …home” come to my mind when I read your email..? Prayers to accompany him!!

Love, J

 On Monday, May 18, 2020, Betty Pierskalla wrote:

Oh So sad.  What a wonderful man and how lucky we were to know him and have him in all of our lives.

Sent from my iPhone

On Monday, May 18, 2020, James Macari  wrote:

How sad. Thanks for letting us know. 

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Sandra Baum  wrote

Surprising he outlived the other three even though older & left St A first

Sent from my iPhone

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Ann Steinmetz wrote:

We should all eat a few brownies in his honor.

Thank you for letting us know.  Ann

 …………Mary H writing to Perie May 18 and 19

Perie, I sat on our patio and wept when I read your poetry. It is timeless. It is timely. It is prophetic. 

Fr Leo’s light pre-dated the election of Pope Francis and his light. We are so privileged to be counted among this merry band of outcasts and mavericks at St Anthony’s who follow Jesus. We’ve been gifted with extraordinary leadership. Blessed we are!

And your poetry has provided a timeline for us. Your words are sacred.  Thank you

Mary H..On Tue, May 19, 2020 at 10:59 AM Perie Longo wrote:
Hi Mary, You are fast, my friend. No one was more surprised than me when I received Mary Brown’s message this morning. My memory is fading fast. I totally forgot about the 2003 poems, but I did remember writing writing the 2010 one when Leo left for Tucson. Well, I hope our dear community might enjoy the poems. It’s hard to believe so many of our priests who have joined the Communion of Saints. Just read your text. No, haven’t published it. But thanks for asking.  Perie xo

………….Mary writes back to Perie

Oh, Perie, thank you. Your words honor Leo and bless us. I’ll share your email with everyone. Bless you
…………Perie writes back to Mary  
Hello Mary,  Thank you for your thoughtful message. Your memory is far better than mine. I just researched my documents and found this poem I wrote for Fr. Leo when he left for Tucson in 2010. It is attached, titled “There you are.” I don’t quite say “His Got-up and Go, Got Up and Went” I wish I had said it! Maybe I did in an introduction when I read it. I also found 2 more poems I wrote for him in 2003, Also attached.

If you’d like to share with the St. Anthony’s community, please feel free to do so. I’m so sad he has left this plain but he will always be in “Plain sight” of our history.  Love,  Perie

Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Sue Mellor  wrote:

How wonderful to have these tributes to our dearly beloved Fr. Leo.  So true.  We were blessed to have him as our shepherd as long as we did.  He revealed not only his depth of faith to us but his love and dedication to serving God’s children on earth.  He is united with the truth he preached.  And we are all the better for him.  With a grieving heart,  Sue

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Barbara Krahn wrote:

Thank you, Mary H. And Mary Brown and Perie for sharing this tribute to Father Leo.  I am saddened to hear of his passing, but he shall find peace and fulfillment where he is now resurrected.  He was such a blessing in helping us create the St. Anthony’s Community.  Thank God for Fr. Leo!


On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Dudley Conneely wrote:

Thanks Mary for sharing and for all you do for St Anthony’s and for all you and Joe did to support padre Leo for so many years. Time to say good bye Padre Leo. Keep an eye on us Leo

Vaya Con Dios 

Dudley  PS.  A great man, a great Priest, an awesome pioneer. We need more like Leo to step up and tell it like it is.  Dudley

On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, Paula Mauro wrote:

Thank you, Mary.  We now have another saint to pray to.  May he rest in peace.   Paula Mauro

On May 19th Kathryn wrote
Hi Mary,

I’ve always continued to think of Fr Leo so often and thankful we had opportunity to have him share his life and thoughts with us. We are blessed.  Again, I appreciate your note.  I’ll be talking with Mel later today.  I get the feeling he is a bit lonely for his old friends.Hope all is going well for you and St. Joseph  Love and light,  St Kathryn
(Will continue posting)

In Memorial:  Reverend John Hydar went back to God on November 19th, 2019.
Rev. John Hydar
  moved from Milwaukee to California at age six.  He felt a deep calling to the priesthood at an early age and entered the Junior Seminary in the ninth grade.  He was ordained in 1950 and was active in the priesthood until his departure in 1969.  He married Roberta in 1971 and worked in vocational rehabilitation while earning a Masters of Rehabilitation Administration from USF in 1984.  He resumed his ministry in the 1990’s, performing weddings and funerals.  He was called forward to St. Anthony’s in 2010 along with Keith Forester.
Fr. Keith Forester:
In Memorial: Rev. Keith Forster was born and raised in Sacramento.  He began his ministerial life right here as a student at St. Anthony’s Seminary, following in the footsteps of his father, who had come to St. Anthony’s in 1907.  Keith was ordained a Franciscan priest in 1961.  He left the ministry and married Nancy in 1971. He worked for the California Department of Rehabilitation as a rehabilitation counselor and, in 1984, moved to Santa Barbara where he was active at the Braille Institute teaching woodworking classes.  He was called by the St. Anthony’s community in 2010 and resumed his priestly calling then. Keith passed away in 2018.  We miss him very much.

Rev. and Father: Eugene Baum: (2nd from left)
A few Words about Gene: Mass of the Resurrection: Friday July 31, 2015

Gene, like Jesus in the Gospel today wants us to know where he is going.  Gene, Like Jesus, wants us to know he is will be all right and in fact doing quite well in his new life.  That fact will not prevent us from mourning or missing him, but it will help us understand the sacredness and meaning of his life among us. For me Gene made me smile.  Gene and Sandra together made me laugh.  Smiling and laughing in this world at this time is no easy task, but it was as simple as that for me.  Together they witnessed for many of us a blessed partnership of love and respect.  A thoughtful give and take so necessary in a good marriage.  Thank you Sandra for being the equal half.  When I heard of Gene’s Passing, I also thought of his love of Orchids.  Which took me to remembering a custom I have experienced in my husbands’ Japanese Buddhist Family…The bestowing of a new name for those entering the next realm of life.  The bestowing of a new name is taken very seriously and is based on a person’s presence and work among us.  It is so important that the Bishop of the Buddhist Temple bestows it upon the person after much thought and interviews with family and friends.  My husband’s grandmother; A  vegetable farmer by trade and flower gardener by leisure pursuit, was re-named Snowflower for her entrance into the new realm.  That new name gave us great comfort through the years.   So I ask everyone here today that knew Gene and his love of flowers, but particularly orchids, to think about a new name for Gene as he enters the realm promised to us all.  Young and old, new friends and old friends are all very good at this. It does not have to be a Bishop!  Let it happen here and among us.  I can guarantee that we will witness Gene’s Spirit’s living among us in our own smiles and laughter as we re-name our diverse experiences with him and find out, like the Gospel of John tells us today…..In this time and place…..exactly where he is going..So be it