Father Bloom, The Eucharist, and Eternal Life

June 12, 2020

The Pastor's Page

Fr. John C. Bloomenstein, O.S.C., was a character, to say the least. The first time I met him he had a cigar in one hand, a glass of gin in the other, a smile on his face, and a twinkle in his eye. He was fun, abuzz with energy, the life of the party. He had the gift of gab, and he helped others gab more. And the laughter. Smart quips. Jokes. Teasing. He was joy personified. Everyone called him “Father Bloom” and affectionately nicknamed him “The old goat.”

This is Crosier Fr. John C. Bloomenstein, O.S.C. Born in the Netherlands, January 20, 1902; Ordained a priest July 25, 1927; Died at the Crosier Monastery, Onamia, Minnesota, February 3, 1983.

This is Crosier Fr. John C. Bloomenstein, O.S.C.
Born in the Netherlands, January 20, 1902; Ordained a priest July 25, 1927; Died at the Crosier Monastery, Onamia, Minnesota, February 3, 1983.

We became fast friends. I arrived at the Crosier House of Studies in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the spring of 1973. I was a twenty-one-year-old novice, Father Bloom was a seventy-one-year-old retiree, and I came to discover that behind the fun and games, I had met a spiritual giant. He was born in the Netherlands in 1902, made his first profession as a Crosier at the age of twenty, was ordained to the priesthood at the age of twenty-five, and was a Dutch missionary priest to the United States. He loved the Lord, said Mass, preached the gospel, and practiced what he preached. And he was a genius, a financial whiz. He spent many years on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, as an economics professor. He managed the Crosier financial investments – by himself, unheard of these days. He was honest through and through, totally trustworthy, completely reliable, and everything he touched turned to gold.

I was transferred to Crosier Seminary in Onamia in 1976. When the Crosier House of Studies closed a while later, Father Bloom followed me to Onamia, and we shared his final years together. He died February 3, 1983, and I attended his funeral Mass. The gospel was John 6:51-58, Jesus, the bread of life.

The homilist pointed at his casket and stated, “Father Bloom loved Jesus with all his heart.” We all nodded in agreement. He went on to say, “This man has been a faithful priest for 55 years.” Of course, he had his numbers right. He continued, “He has said Mass every day for all of that time.” Correct again, that is what a priest is supposed to do.

Then the homilist made a powerful statement. “This fine priest has received the Body and Blood of Christ every day for over half a century. Jesus promised, ‘Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life’ (Jn 6:54a), and Jesus keeps his promises. Let there be no doubt in your minds. If you are wondering where Father Bloom is at this very moment, he is in heaven, and we can say so with certainty. It is the Eucharist guarantee: go to Communion, go to heaven. The Eucharist comes with a promise: eternal life.”

I sat there consoled, thinking, “Yes, my friend Father Bloom is in heaven.” My thought continued, “And I want to go to heaven, too. If the Eucharist was Father Bloom’s way to heaven, it can be my way to heaven.” That day the Eucharist, which already was a treasure to me, exploded in significance. It was a glorious realization. If I receive the Eucharist regularly with great devotion, eternal life is mine. It is Jesus’ promise. No need to fret anymore.

Suddenly I was wrapped in a mantle of peace and joy, reassured that Father Bloom has received his heavenly reward – thanks to the Eucharist! Jesus has opened the gates. Heaven is the promise. The Eucharist is the way. Jesus is true to his word.

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About Father Michael Van Sloun

Father Michael A. Van Sloun is the pastor of Saint Bartholomew of Wayzata, MN. Ministerial interests include weekly Bible study, articles on theological topics, religious photography, retreats on Cross spirituality, and pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

View all posts by Father Michael Van Sloun