Fr. Rawley Myers, R.I.P.

A faithful, publishing priest. Editorial, March 2010

Fr. Rawley Myers, who lived in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the leading author of articles in HPR during my editorship, 1971-2010. For forty years he was a regular contributor of articles, homilies, book reviews and letters to the editor. His last article appears in this issue.

In his book reviews, he preferred to review books on spirituality, lives of the saints and our Blessed Mother. In November I sent him a new book on Mary for him to review. It was returned to me in mid-December with the notice that he was deceased. I immediately called St. Mary’s Church in Colorado Springs and learned that he had died on November 25. The woman who answered my call told me that he had been ill for some time.

For more than forty years Fr. Myers had an active apostolate of the pen. He wrote a dozen books, several pamphlets, and thousands of articles and book reviews. On the side, he also edited and published his own small, sixteen-page inspirational magazine called Star. He distributed it to friends and to elderly people confined to their homes or to nursing homes.

I met him and visited with him two or three times at conferences we both attended. He was a thoughtful, prayerful man who was always bearing witness to the faith. Fr. Myers was a humble man and easy to work with. If I needed a homilist in a hurry, I would ask him and he always agreed to write what I needed. Every year I sent him several books to review. His reviews were usually short—one typed page. He always used a typewriter—never a computer.

In 1971 I became editor of HPR and published his first article in December of that year. He contributed to HPR regularly every year since then. His only competitor for the largest number of printed articles, from 1976 to 1991, was the holy Franciscan, Fr. Valentine Long, O.F.M., who published several books with St. Anthony Guild Press.

A popular feature in HPR for more than thirty years has been the column “My Favorite Priest.” The suggestion for this feature column came from Fr. Myers, who wrote the first one in the January 1979 issue. At the time there was much negative reporting about priests—abandoning the priesthood, leaving and getting married, growing dissident and rebellious. Fr. Myers thought that we needed stories in the Catholic press about holy and edifying priests that would encourage vocations and inform the laity that most priests were dedicated to serving God and were faithful to their vows. Hundreds of articles about such priests have appeared in the pages of HPR since 1979.

Fr. Myers made a daily Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament. I do not know at what age he adopted this practice, but I do know that he was persuaded to do it because of the influence of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who urged priests to adopt this devotion in every retreat he gave to the clergy. In his writings, Fr. Myers also urged priests and laity to spend an hour each day with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I suspect that he did some of his writing, at least mentally, while in conversation with Jesus present in the tabernacle during his daily Holy Hour.

Fr. Myers earned his own Ph.D., but he was not impressed with the academic degrees of learned men who talk and write over the heads of the lay faithful. Often he criticized them and then would praise pious grandmothers who spend time in church praying for their families and friends. For these devout Catholics he had great respect, as anyone will know who read his articles.

Fr. Rawley Myers was a model, apostolic priest. In a previous age he probably would have been selected as a diocesan bishop. During the past forty years priests like Rawley Myers have been passed over for such honors because they did not fit the contemporary profile of a post-Vatican II bishop. I suspect, though, humble man that he was, that he never considered himself qualified to be a bishop. In any event, I wish to honor him now that he is gone. I will be praying for the repose of his soul and I ask you to do the same. R.I.P.

Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ About Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ

Fr. Kenneth Baker, SJ, is editor emeritus of HPR, having served as editor for over 30 years. He is the author of the best selling Fundamentals of Catholicism (three volumes) and of the popular introduction to the Scripture, Inside the Bible.