Oddwalk Ministries

Thank You, Fr. Frank


This past Friday, our parish lost our pastor, Fr. Frank Bussmann. Late on Thursday night, after spending Thanksgiving with his family, Fr. Frank headed for home.  He only managed to get about ten minutes down the road before he suffered a massive stroke behind the wheel, causing him to crash his car. Luckily, no one else was hurt in the accident.  He was rushed to the hospital, but little could be done for him. The next day, surrounded by family, Fr. Frank passed away.

To call this a shock would be putting it mildly.  He was in relatively good health. There was nothing obvious to any of us that would indicate that our time with him was running short. But, if the readings at Mass these past few weeks have taught us anything, it’s that we all need to be prepared, as we cannot know not the day or the time we will meet the Lord.

I am going to miss Fr. Frank.  He wasn’t the priest who had hired me at the parish, but he and I started there on the same day, along with our parish secretary, Linda.  I truly enjoyed working with him.  He was gentle and non-confrontational, almost to a fault.  As John, our deacon, said about his style, “He was the type of shepherd who preferred to work on the edges of the flock, rather than plow into the middle and risk scattering the sheep”.  This was absolutely true. When I took over the high school Confirmation program, I had wanted to include in it a policy that would remove a candidate from the program if they missed too many sessions.  He wanted no part of a policy like that, as he thought it might chase some of the teens away for good. He was a kind and generous man as well, often giving money from his own pocket to those who came to the door asking for assistance.  He was understanding, too. As a father and grandfather, stemming from a marriage earlier in his life, Fr. Frank knew well the day-to-day challenges of trying to balance work and family life. He was always ready to give those of us with families the space and time we needed to juggle everything well.  I can’t tell you how much that meant to me and to our family.

The thing that kept Fr. Frank moving forward in his life, though, (in addition to his family, of course) was his strong and steady faith in Christ and His Church. As with most things, he didn’t talk about his own personal faith much; it was just a regular and intertwined part of who he was.  Almost no one else knew that after daily Mass was over and nearly everyone had cleared out of the church, Fr. Frank would spend a few quiet moments sitting near the tabernacle.  He would, though,  share with the school kids phrases and practices that had helped him integrate faith into his daily life.  At the funeral yesterday, Fr. Frank’s son Josh Bussmann, shared one of these phrases with us: “Hold your face to the light, even if you can’t see it.” Fr. Frank had included this saying in a letter to his son, but we in the parish and school had heard it before, many times.  He often circled back around to it in his homilies. Fr. Frank wanted us to know, wanted everyone to know, that while we don’t always see the “light”, (God) the light is always there. God is always there. That belief guided Fr. Frank in his life and kept his faith strong.

We will miss you, Fr. Frank. Thanks for everything. Please pray for us as we will be praying for you.


(This post will serve as our Jesus, Justice Joy article for this week.  I couldn’t really choose one of those categories to focus on.  Fr. Frank exemplified all of them.)



5 comments for “Thank You, Fr. Frank

  1. Matt L
    November 29, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    What a great tribute! Sounds like Fr. Frank was a great shepherd. My prayers for his family and your parish family. Peace!

  2. Sue Kyle
    November 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Wonderful tribute. I have missed him since he left Montgomery City, but had a couple conversations on line, and a time or two when he visited for various IC for penance services or other occasions and knew he was nearby. Now he is no longer physically up the road, but I know he is spiritually nearby and smiling down on his beloved family and parishioners. Thank you Shannon for this fine tribute!!

  3. Connie Gresham
    November 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I saw his gentle kindness especially with the children. He truly did live his faith. He will be missed.

  4. Dot Foster
    November 29, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    Fr Frank was everything you said he was Shannon. When he first arrived at our church and gave his first homily, in his usual soft spoken voice, I thought to myself, ‘How in the world could he have been a lawyer and win cases!” It didn’t take me long to figure out that his soft spoken way caused you to pay more attention than one who ‘shouts’ his homily! We were very blessed to have had him and I will forever remember him. I am sure he is Resting in Peace.

  5. Barb Middaugh
    November 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Father Frank was so helpful and gracious to our family . He was instrumental with the annulment for our son Brian so Chrisy could join the church and having Marissa baptized . After 6 years we pretty much had him converted to silk flowers for the altar . On several occasions he made comments as to the longevity of the flowers and most recently our fake pumpkins and ghourds. We’ve had lots of laughs with him about this phenomenon !! He was special to our family for many reasons but most importantly when he agreed to do the funeral for our brother in law ( Roses’ husband … who was not catholic) . Clifford was very active before his illness in many fundraisers. He even agreed to a meal at church . Our family ,born and raised at St Peters felt very special .. thanks to Father Frank ! Our “Fink” pew on Saturday nights will miss that little grin and wave before mass every weekend ! God grant his family peace and sweet memories in the coming holidays and years to come . No doubt we will be greeted by him again some day . ❤️

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