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Longboat Key Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2010 7 years ago

Pick celebrates 50 years as a priest

by: Dora Walters Senior Editor

A champagne toast, warm memories and a lot of laughter made the Rev. Edward Pick’s 50th anniversary celebration an occasion to remember.

It began at the 11:30 a.m. Mass Sunday, April 11, at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Catholic Church, with Pick, pastor emeritus, as the celebrant.

Following Mass, more than 300 parishioners moved on to Stella Maris Hall, where a light lunch buffet of sandwiches, pasta and fruit was set up along with champagne, punch and iced tea.

The program began with a welcome from St. Mary’s priest, the Rev. Gerry Finegan. The crowd listened attentively as Mary Elizabeth Carey presented “A Walk Down Memory Lane,” starting with Pick’s birth in 1935, in Cincinnati, his ordination at Cincinnati’s St. Peter in Chains Cathedral in 1960, his service at several churches in Florida and his arrival in 1973 on Longboat Key.

St. Mary’s Sunday services were initially held in the old firehouse at the north end of the Key. Because there was no air conditioning, the doors were left open, and Village peacocks frequently strolled in to hear the sermon.

Through his determined efforts and thr dedication of church members, a new sanctuary was built, and the first service was held May 27, 1978. The official dedication took place Dec. 8, 1978. At that time, the church was debt free.

Carey mentioned Pick’s love of dogs and his talent on stage, which was discovered when St. Mary’s musical director, Michael Tucci, staged a cabaret with parishioners as stars. Pick’s specialty was a soft-shoe number, which, in response to an audience appeal, he performed at the luncheon.

Thanking the crowd for their good wishes, Pick reminisced.

“Thirty-six years in paradise — it’s been a great ride,” he said. “I’ve met wonderful people along the way.”

He also had some suggestions for his fellow priests.

“Ninety percent of your parishioners only see and hear you in church,” he says. “Work on your homily. Study it. Make it a performance they will remember. Priests need a sense of humor. Learn to roll with the punches. Know what’s going on in the world.”

The celebration ended with homemade desserts baked and served by St. Mary Women’s Guild members, along with a few last words from Pick.

“Be kind to each other,” he said.

Thoughts from the Rev. Edward Pick:

On the priesthood:
“There is no more a challenging role in life today than the priesthood. It is all about challenge and accepting challenge.”
On what he enjoys most:
“I really like preaching. I admit I am somewhat of a ham, but you have to get the attention of the congregation. I do enjoy Sunday mornings.”
On the St. Mary’s congregation:
“Wonderful people; people from all walks of life and from all over the world.”
On celibacy:
“I think a change may eventually come, but I am against it. I think the congregation should know they are your sole interest. I think, too, that celibacy has the respect of the congregations.”
On active congregation participants:
“The men and women of the church have been so dedicated to various causes and have helped the church and others in so many ways.”
On the town of Longboat Key:
“We have been so fortunate in having so many good leaders who really cared about the town and are the reason it is still paradise. One suggestion: I think the shoulders of Gulf of Mexico Drive look a little seedy. I think they could look better.”
On retirement:
“It’s been two years and it wasn’t easy to adjust. But now I am enjoying it and kind of have a routine. I swim daily; walk Joshua three or four times and help out at the church. I don’t cook, so it’s mostly TV dinners and invites from kind friends.”
On his favorite memories:
“I have a lot of great ones. The dedication of St. Mary, Star of the Sea, on Dec. 8, 1978, is probably No. 1. To establish a new church in five years and be debt free was a tremendous accomplishment by a dedicated congregation and a great source of joy to me.”

Contact Dora Walters at [email protected].

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