One of Riverside’s well-known and well-liked former residents will be returning to the village on Friday evening, Jan. 24. The Rev. Dr. Martin Marty will be on hand at the Taize Prayer Service to be held at St. Mary Parish, 126 Herrick Road, where, following the 7 p.m. service, he will give a personal reflection and talk.

Dr. Marty was ordained 60 years ago, and though he officially retired following his 70th birthday, he is far from retired. 

Born in Nebraska, Marty has become renowned as a Lutheran religious scholar and is called upon many times for his thoughts. His extensive knowledge of American religion can be found in the more than 50 books he has authored. 

He has been a teacher and a pastor at Lutheran churches in the west and northwest suburbs of Chicago. He is the professor emeritus at the Chicago Divinity School, where for 35 years he taught in the history department. The school’s Martin Marty Center for the Advanced Study of Religion was founded in his name. He has also served on two presidential commissions.

Those who remember Dr. Marty from his time in Riverside might recall him walking around town, a man with a warm smile greeting those he encountered. Music also was a part of the Marty household with his wife, Harriet, being a musician.

 Following the Taize service, Dr. Marty will center his talk on the topic of the celebration of Christian unity. This is the third Taize service hosted by St. Mary Parish and its interest has increased. The service is ecumenical and focuses on prayer and music as well as silence and contemplation. The services are refreshing and the presence of Dr. Marty will also make it enlightening.

The evening will be dedicated to the memory of the St. Mary Church Deacon Tom Coffey, who passed away on Dec. 21, 2013. Deacon Coffey, with his warm smile and giving manner, was a strong believer in ecumenism and Christian unity, so it is fitting that he be remembered at the service.

The evening is open to all and will be held in the church, followed by Dr. Marty’s talk. The evening will conclude with refreshments in the parish’s Oak Room below the church. For further information contact the parish office at 708-447-1020.

Happy Birthday: Greetings to to my daughter, Tina, whose birthday is today, Jan. 22. She still is the energetic little girl we all know and love. May she never grow up!