Father's Bulletin Letter 4.25.21

Apr 22, 2021


This weekend we lay to rest The Reverend William Karg, who was not only the fourth pastor of the Parish of St. Sebastian, but a son of the parish himself who grew up across the street from Good Park Golf Course on Thorndale Drive. He attended St. Sebastian Parish School along with his buddies Francis LaRocca, Joseph Kraker, and David McCafferty all of whom would grow up to be ordained priests on the same day in 1964! Fr. Kraker would eventually become pastor of our mother parish of St. Vincent and Fr. Karg would be right next door, returning to this parish in 1995 as pastor, installed by Bishop Pilla on May 20th.

When he returned to his parish he joined ministry with Fr. Bob Jackson and Deacon Terry Peacock. That first year they would celebrate one hundred and one baptisms, forty-three weddings and thirty-four funerals.

Father Karg was known as a person who worked for racial harmony, inclusivity and diversity. During his pastorate he worked at bringing together disparate people, groups and organizations with an eye toward bringing unity and understanding between people. With a special concern for the poor and disenfranchised, he would join with other local pastors to help establish such organizations as the Peter Maurin Center and Nazareth Housing.

Lasting legacies from his pastorate around the parish includes the renovation and expansion of Monsignor Zwisler Hall, the playground and the beautiful fence that wraps around the western end of our property. The school was updated and the convent was transformed into the Early Learning Center which today still fills to capacity and feeds our school.

I first came to know Fr. Karg when he was pastor of St. Henry Parish in the Lee-Miles neighborhood of Cleveland. I lived with him for a summer as part of my training as a seminarian. According to the Case Western Reserve Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, Father Karg succeeded Father Uhler in June 1982 and proceeded to “expand the slate of social and community outreach programs offered by the parish to include the Autumn Leaf Circle, Bereavement Ministry, Operation Good News Retreats, prayer and Bible-study groups, Adult Coalition for Youth Development, and the Diocesan African-American Advisory Board. “

"Citing declining enrollment and rising costs, the Diocese of Cleveland merged the parish schools of St. Henry and St. Timothy in 1993 to create the Archbishop James P. Lyke Elementary School, named for the first black archbishop in the United States. The school was located in the former St. Henry school building on Harvard Avenue.” I was with him the summer this took place. It was an exciting time and his care and devotion to this community made a profound impression upon me.

Not too long before he died I was able to sit and speak with him for a while. He told of his great love for St. Sebastian and what a wonderful parish it is. He also spoke of his great friendship with his old friend Fr. Joe Kraker. I have little doubt that as a “priest forever in the line of Melchisedeck” he will continue his prayers for all of us as we continue to offer prayers for the repose of his soul and in thanksgiving for all that he gave in his life to help bring others to Christ.

God bless you Fr. Karg!

Fr. Valencheck