By Dan Russo
DUBUQUE — In one of the 14 books Msgr. Francis Friedl has written since his official retirement, he described what it means to be a “legend.”
“I defined legends as ‘individuals whose qualities are combined in such a way that they are in a class by themselves, extraordinary, unforgettable, people who march to the beat of a distant drummer,’” wrote the priest.
In his books “Loras Luminaries,” “Legends of Dubuque” and “’Doc Kammer Lives,” the former Loras College president told the stories of many remarkable people who are considered local legends, but it could also be argued that the author himself is a legend, although, his humble character would preclude him from acknowledging that.
The 98-year-old celebrated his 73rd anniversary of being ordained on April 26, and holds the distinction of being the oldest and longest serving priest in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. He took a few moments recently to reflect on his years in ministry at his apartment in Villa Raphael, a residence for retired priests in Dubuque.
“I didn’t think I’d live this long,” said Msgr. Friedl, sitting in a chair surrounded by books. “I’m just lucky I guess. I’ve behaved myself with what I eat and so on. That helps.”