Ennis and the ICA

In the dinosaur age, when I was in “pre-theology” at Mt. Angel Seminary, there used to be a rule about first year seminarians. We were not allowed to have summer assignments in a parish. We had to find jobs to make money to go back to the Seminary the following year. I suppose this was Bishop Treinen’s way to see if we were serious about our commitment to the Diocese of Boise.
I ended up in Ennis, Montana. I worked at the Silver Dollar Bar, flipping buffalo burgers and making pizzas in the back kitchen. I also got to live at the rectory of St. Patrick’s in Ennis with an older priest whose name was Fr. John Kirsch. Fr. John was an Elk Biologist who had become a priest. (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/26044661/john-ballard-kirsch)
He was also a very well-known Mountain Man and while I was there he took me to a Rendezvous in the Absaroka Mountains. Trying to make me fit in, I got to wear his leather fringe jacket and floppy deer skin hat.
We would travel between St. Patrick’s in Ennis and Our Lady of the Pines in West Yellowstone. Of course, we had to make a big circle through “The Park” to include Chico Hot Springs after our long weekend duties.
Bishop Treinen loved to fish and when he found out where I was, he came to visit. We tried drift boating and he didn’t like that at all. He preferred to stand on the bank of the Madison River and wet a line. He always had his stinky creel, but it was full of fish for dinner. After his trip to Ennis, he let me know I could go back to Mt. Angel for my first year of Theology.
As a seminarian I would have never been able to afford a Master’s Degree at Mt. Angel. Even the tips from the cowboys at the Silver Dollar would not have been enough to buy my first black shirt and collar. The “DDP”, now the Idaho Catholic Appeal helped pay most of the way. And that’s the story of why I give to the ICA each year.