UP Catholic 12 09 2016 E Edition Page 20

Diocesan Collection Dates: December 10th - 11th + St. Gregory's, Newberry, + Our Lady of Victory, Paradise + St. Stephen's, Naubinway Bishop James Garland, What a joy it is for us to be able to wish you a Happy & Blessed 85th Birthday! The future priest became an altar server at a young age. He said he got to know the priests a bit and the idea of being a priest was always there. From 1955 to 1961, he attend- ed Christian Brothers College, which Father Gardiner describes as the Rhodesian version of a private high school. Then, out of the blue after going to confession he told his pastor, Id like to be a priest. He began his seminary studies in 1962 at St. John Vianney National Seminary in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, because white and black students couldnt study to- gether then. In 1965 Saints John Fisher and Thomas More Seminary in Chishawasha, Zimbabwe, experi- mented with integrating the student population. That year Gardiner and three other white students were asked to transfer there. Father Gardiner said, the condi- tions, unfortunately, were like a labor camp. The food was meager and awful, and the studies were lack- ing. The other three seminarians he transferred with were gone within six months; however, Gardiner stayed two years. He said although the stu- dents were great, to get a better edu- cation he transferred back to Pretoria in 1967 and completed seminary the next year. He was very gratified that a busload of students from the seminary in Chishawasha made the trip to Bulawayo for his ordination. The newly-minted Father Gardiner had hoped to serve someplace other than his home parish; however, thats where he was assigned, and he remained associate pastor at St. Mary Cathedral in Bulawayo until 1973. While talking with an American superior of the Mariann Hill Missionary Fathers at his parish, he mentioned that hed always thought about America and would love to visit someday. That led to a fantastic yearlong sabbatical in Dearborn Heights, Mich. He returned to Zim- babwe the following year to serve as the pastor of a church. Rhodesia had declared independence from Great Britain in 1965 and the country was in a civil war until 1980. More than 50 priests were killed during the war. Father Gardiner was ap- pointed a territorial chaplain for the Rhodesian Armed Forces soon after his ordination and served until 1977, when he returned to down- state Michigan. My military service there was to assist the troops in the war zones and the take care of the Catholics in the three battalions in my home- town, Father Gardiner said. It was very diffi- cult but I enjoyed that work. Many were getting killed. I lost classmates. One of the jobs of the chaplain was to inform families that their loved one had been injured or killed that was a hard job. But the work itself as a pastor to the troops was very rewarding. Father Gardiner has always been drawn toward the contemplative life. After taking a 40-day retreat and living the monastic life while downstate, contemplative prayer became a deep longing for him. He said he enjoyed the people and parishes in Detroit, but found that the U.P. offers a rural and quieter setting, which is more akin to a contemplative life. He had discovered the Upper Peninsula during his sabbatical year and became close friends with his adopted family, Bill and Delores Rice of Kingsford. He continued to visit the U.P. and asked to be transferred here. Since 1983, hes served in many parishes in the Diocese of Marquette. The diocese has been great to me great people, very supportive, Father Gardiner said. Weve had great bishops and have a great bishop now. He recently read God or Nothing by Car- dinal Robert Sarah and said he found it very inspiring. Get to know and love the Lord and put him at the center of your life thats cru- cial. If Gods not there, whos going to be? The devil, Father Gardiner said. Until we get that right, and God's in first place, there's going to be tough times ahead. When people see us they must see the Divine Presence, a mirror of the Divine Pres- ence, Father Gardiner said. How are we going to do that unless we have a relation- ship with the Lord? 20 December 9, 2016 THE U.P. CATHOLIC www.upcatholic.org CITIZEN: From Zimbabwe to America FROM PAGE 19 JOHN FEE THE U.P. CATHOLIC Father Christopher Gardiner is pictured in front of Sacred Heart Church in Munising. He's pastor of the parish as well as St. Therese Mission in AuTrain.

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