“Mike knew he had a calling from God”
May 19, Fr. Ron Garry gave the homily at Fr. Mike Hight’s funeral at St.Therese the Little Flower Church. “I was two years behind Mike at St. Paul Seminary (in St. Paul, Minnesota),” he said. “Mike knew he had a calling from God.”
In addition to his seminary studies, he attended the University of S.D., Vermillion, and Black Hills State University, Spearfish. He was a graduate of St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn. January 18, 1982, he was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Rapid City by Bishop Harold J. Dimmerling.
Father Garry reminded the assembly that Fr. Mike bore the pain of arthritis for more than 30 years. Recalling the scripture reading that day, he said, “The message of Lamentations is hard, it challenges us with the fact that there are tangible and painful consequences for our sin. The chosen nation of Judah suffered exile in the days of Jeremiah because of their infidelity to the covenant relationship with God. The prayer of lament does not end with despair but looks forward to the Lord’s purposes for the future of Judah, for vindication against enemies and restoration to covenant love.”
Father Garry continued, “We can identify with how Mike endured his sufferings and the sufferings of this world in us, and around us, and pray along with the people of all the different ages. The book of Lamentations expresses the desperation of a suffering soul and a suffering people. We can bring our sufferings to God, not in complaint, not in poor me, but in prayer.”
In the homily, Father Garry explained that when Jesus bore the pain for all people and nations, he expressed divine love as our savior.
“Mike’s personality was blunt. His speech was sometimes harsh. I saw it as his lamentation, in his inimitable way Mike shared Jesus’ suffering for salvation,” he said. “He bore the pain in his own body and he bore the pain of the world. He was a priest of Jesus and knew how to unite pain with the sacrifice of eucharist.”
In concluding, Father Garry said, “May God have mercy on Fr. Mike Hight and lead him to everlasting dwelling in paradise.”
After Father Hight’s casket was placed in the hearse, more than 25 priests gathered behind it to chant “Salve Regina” in Latin. He is buried in Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Rapid City.
Parishioners in the Diocese of Rapid City might recall after ordination Father Hight served as an associate pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rapid City. From 1982-1987 he served at St. Michael Church, Kennebec, and St. Mary Church, Reliance. From 1987 to 1989 he served at St. Anthony Church, Buffalo, with missions at Reva, Ralph, and Cox. From 1989-90 he assisted at Blessed Sacrament Church, Rapid City; Christ the King Church, Presho; and Sacred Heart Church, Burke. In 1990 he was appointed parochial administrator for the church in Presho and the parishes of St. Michael Church, Kennebec; St. Anthony Church, Draper; and St. Martin Church, Murdo. In 1999 he returned to Rapid City as a senior associate at the cathedral. In 2001, he was medically retired and went to live at St. James Parish, Edgemont, and resided in the rectory. In 2003, he moved to Wall until his death.