Honoring a Beloved Priest Godfather
Mary McKeown’s Perpetual Endowment
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to have a lifelong spiritual mentor know what a difference that gift can make. For Mary McKeown that spiritual mentor was her godfather, Fr. Francis Costiou of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.).
In 2015, Mary established an endowment to provide perpetual support to retired priests from Fr. Costiou’s religious order. The endowment is Mary’s way of acknowledging the important role her godfather played in helping her become a person of faith.
Missionary and Mentor
Mary’s father, a local sheriff, was in his late 40s when Mary was born and it was important to him to choose a godfather who would watch over his new daughter. He turned to Fr. Costiou, a family friend who served as a missionary priest to Catholics in the sparsely populated area.
Mary’s father died when she was 11 years old, and Fr. Costiou became a father figure as well as a spiritual mentor. “He was a joyful, loving man who more than fulfilled his commitment to my father,” says Mary.
A Fitting and Much Needed Tribute
Fr. Bill Morrell, O.M.I believes endowments like Mary’s are critical. “The number of retired priests exceeds the number of those in active ministry who support their care. We’re honored that the endowment recognizes the work of missionaries like Fr. Costiou. When you look at what they’ve done with their lives, they deserve to be taken care of.”
Mary thinks it’s good for priests like her godfather — who dedicated their lives to service — to know their work is remembered. “What you do for yourself dies with you,” Mary said. “What you do for others lives on.” Mary’s endowment will benefit many people long after she is gone, making it a fitting tribute to a beloved godfather.