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dmckenzie 2006
Memorial Mass on Saturday

Msgr. William H. Shannon

See also Notes from Classmates, below.

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Donna Argenbright Black 2006

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K Boggs photo 
Circa 1966
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At Class of '66 40th Reunion 
September 23, 2006

Meeting with "Bill"
The class met with Fr. Shannon Saturday 9/23 at 3 PM before the 4 PM Memorial Mass. 
Below is the text of Karen Moore Larimer's message to Msgr "Bill" Shannon on behalf of the class.

Message at the Reception for Father William (“Bill”) Shannon

Father Shannon, you are probably wondering why we called this meeting...

40 years ago we dedicated our yearbook to you. In our dedication we said,

“To Monsignor William Shannon in his twentieth year as chaplain..  Because he has chosen to become a priest there are miracles among us and between us and there is no one of us who can’t find Love. Children and many children will know their Father because he has chosen to teach women.”

That dedication, as beautiful and profound as it was, was  probably said, like so many lofty things we said at that age, without a clue as to the true depth of its meaning.  We wanted you to know, 40 years later, how richly it now resonates with us. We’d like you to know how much your examples of scholarship, generosity and courage have helped us as we’ve faced the then unimagined challenges in our world, church and personal lives.

We were with you  on the brink of Vatican II and you gave us some great gifts that would serve as a framework as we moved ahead...you allowed us

  • to see our faith as something that could, in fact must, be questioned

  • to understand Church as “Us”

You taught by example the values

  • of life-long learning

  • of courage to speak truth

  • a dedication to a life's work

  • of service to others


You even attempted to bring a little sophistication into our lives by:

  • elevating our mixers to a Viennese Ball once a year

  • and introducing us to the loveliness of a shared glass of wine at your soirees (judging from the party at Kate’s last night, we got that one.)

Very simply, we wanted you to know how much you have mattered to us. So, our class gift, for our 40th reunion, is being given in your honor. It might interest you to know that, through blatant marketing of your name, we achieved a giving record for our class, both in percentage of participation and in total dollars given. 68% of us gave $30,000 in your name to Nazareth.

When I was on staff at Nazareth, you once asked me to call you “Bill.” I must admit I was very touched, but that, along with calling Dr. Bush, “Mary,” did not come easily. You will always be “father” to us, in many ways.  But it put me in mind of a song entitled “Bill” from the musical “Showboat.” When I revisited it I found that it began with “Then along came Bill, an ordinary guy...” Well, of course, that wouldn’t do. There is nothing ordinary about Bill Shannon. As I listened to the end, though, I thought the last line might work very well...... Hit it , girls!


                                                OUR BILL l"

Thank you for everything, Father Bill Shannon.


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Sigillum 1966 Dedication:

To Monsignor William H. Shannon in his twentieth year as chaplain.

Because he has chosen to become a priest there are miracles among us and between us and there is no one of us who cannot find Love.

Children and many children and children will know their Father because he has chosen to teach women.


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From our classmates:

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From Nora Brennan Shannon. 
Her son, also a William H. Shannon, is baptized in 1976. 

From Clair McAdam Aimi

Hi Pauline, I know it is late, but just found these. I remember how good it was to have him visit us in Oxford on his way to Ireland. My letter home recorded some of the events of that visit.

At the local parish church Father said Mass celebrating his 22 anniversary of his ordination. "We spent the rest of the morning in Blackwell's where Father almost bought out the Theology dept." ...

During our tour of the overpowering Coventry ruins and chapel we got some comic relief when the guide was so impressed with Father, dressed with no distinguishing marks of priesthood. She was amazed that he knew the symbols for the evangelists!

Our second and last day together we spent at Salsbury Cathedral with its peaceful cloisters and soaring steeple. The day ended with the traditional wine and cheese party for Father in Karen's room at our boarding convent, Cherwell Edge. We were all wishing we could continue traveling with this dear, wonderful man.

From: Kare Larimer
Thursday, September 14, 2006 9:24 AM
Subject: Re: Father Shannon

He was the person to whom we dedicated our yearbook. (A re-reading of that beautifully worded dedication is even more meaningful in retrospect.)  He was then celebrating his 20th year as chaplain. Little did we know then that 40 years later he would still be serving the college (I recently sat in on a retiree's strategic planning meeting and he was there contributing in that thoughtful, measured voice we all remember); the sisters (he serves as chaplain at their new Motherhouse); and us.

In my 20 year tenure as Alumni Director I heard countless stories from alums who went to him in times of need and I imagine that what I heard was only the tip of the iceberg.

One of the things about being 60-something is that we are all too keenly aware of the preciousness of time and people. We need to let Bill Shannon (as he once asked me to call him...choke!) that he has mattered to us.  There is a wonderful picture of Father (can't quite do the "Bill" thing) when he met with our book club last fall. If she could send it to you digitally, seeing that face on the website would probably be all we would need to do.

The time is drawing near!  See you soon.

From: Pat Murray Brooks
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 7:50 PM

Our freshman religion book, The Church Of Christ, was written by then Father Shannon in 1959. I was the sixth owner of my book, and it was well used. After Vatican Council II, which was convening while we were in college, Msgr Shannon wanted to rewrite the book.

I'm forever thankful that he was our spiritual guide during that time of so many changes in the Church. I was especially grateful to know him as our Sodality mentor.

A few years ago I picked up a Catholic Update bulletin in the back of our small church in Broadalbin. As I started to read the wonderful article on the "Eucharist, Understanding Christ's Body", I was thrilled to see that Msgr William H. Shannon of the Diocese of Rochester and professor emeritus of Nazareth College had written the article. Thank you, Msgr Shannon for 40 years of spiritual guidance. May God bless you always--

Pat Murray Brooks