Steward of the Church and Glenmary

Posted: 11/13/2011

Fighting illness, Father Larry Goulding continues to be a witness and inspiration


Glenmary Father Larry Gouldingby Dale Hanson

After 53 years as a Glenmarian—48 devoted to pastoring and working in the missions—a weak Father Larry Goulding came back to Glenmary's home base of Cincinnati this year for medical care and rest.

Who knew this 81-year-old was about to take on a new ministry? His longtime friend and coworker Mike Prym wasn't surprised. "Father Larry has always been very faithful to the mission and ministry of Glenmary."

The senior member spent his first months in Cincinnati in a hospital and then at a rehabilitation/care facility before he felt strong enough to move to the Glenmary community residence.

Meanwhile, Mike—Glenmary's assistant development director—was planning to ask a senior member to make phone calls to new or past donors to encourage their support of Glenmary. And he thought Father Larry might be ideal, if he felt up to it.

Korean War medal of Glenmary Father Larry GouldingAs a senior Glenmarian, he had every right to say no—but he said yes.

"I once worked in development for five years," Father Larry says. "So I see the phone calling as another way to help Glenmary. Doing God's work on earth requires money, and I know I couldn't have served people in the missions without the support of our generous donors."

Mike felt Father Larry would be an inspiration to the people he called. "He's a straight shooter who is also a faithful steward of the Church and Glenmary."

When he started coming to the office and making calls, Father Larry decided to focus on past donors. "I tell them who I am, and I ask them if they'll consider helping us again." He always thanks them for their past support and reminds them about Glenmary's important, ongoing mission.

Although he enjoys talking to the people about their Glenmary connections, his health has limited his work. "Sometimes I've just needed to go home and lie down."

Mike says that "Father Larry has made contact with quite a few Glenmary donors, and some have begun donating again. But it has meant a great deal just that he has reconnected with them for Glenmary.

"He has given when he didn't have to and has done his work with as much energy as God gives him. That attitude has transcended his whole Glenmary ministry."

Father Larry says his time in Cincinnati with other Glenmary members and coworkers has made him realize again how thankful he is to be a Glenmarian. "Somehow God made me part of Glenmary's goodness, and Glenmary has been part of my goodness."

In October Father Larry returned to the care facility. But just a couple of hours before his move, he was still thinking about his work. "We always need new donors, and I've been thinking hard about ways to help develop a new contact list. Right now it doesn't look like I'll get around to that, but maybe I will...."

Editor's note: Father Larry's health declined rapidly in October and he died on Nov. 12. A remembrance of his life and ministry will be featured in the Spring 2012 issue. 

This article appears in the Winter 2011 Glenmary Challenge.