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Father Timothy Gollob has been the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church for over 46 years, and a great supporter of Bishop Dunne Catholic School. He's been known to give the shirt off his back to someone who needs it. Much of his free time is spent helping feed the hungry spiritually and literally. He's an avid environmentalist, nature lover and bird watcher.

Fr. Timothy Gollob Honors His Family with the Gift of an Environmental Science Lab for Future Falcons

For his 75th birthday, almost exactly five years ago, the Rev. Timothy Gollob submitted his retirement letter as required for a priest reaching that age. Bishop Kevin Farrell gave him a birthday gift, saying he could continue as pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in South Oak Cliff. Soon after, Fr. Tim got what he called "the best birthday present" with the opening of a new, 700-seat sanctuary for Holy Cross, built after 15 years of dogged fundraising, including raffles, bingo, Cajun Luaus, and even recycling cans.

Getting a gleaming new sanctuary built in the southern area of Dallas will no doubt further what Bishop Farrell and many others say is the legendary reputation within the diocese of a priest known simply as "Father Tim." For 46 years, he has been pastor of Holy Cross, presiding at more than 7,000 Masses and hundreds of weddings, funerals, and confirmations. In addition to his pastoral duties, he’s led Mass at the nearby VA Medical Center nearly every Friday since 1969. He's the longest-serving active priest in the diocese, and the longest at a single parish. He was also Bishop Dunne’s first chaplain.

In addition to his pastoral duties, he’s led Mass at the nearby VA Medical Center nearly every Friday since 1969.

In the 1960’s, he was the chaplain at Bishop Dunne. Fr. Tim was 29 in November of 1963 when he chaperoned a group of Bishop Dunne students to see President John F. Kennedy. The group stood on the roof atop the Adolphus Hotel on Main Street downtown, and waved to the president as his motorcade drove by just minutes before he was assassinated.

Fifty years later, Fr. Tim returned to that rooftop to recall his sad memories of the day, and allow the Texas Catholic to take pictures of him in the same spot he’d been standing in five decades before. It wasn’t the first time he made news: the Dallas Morning News wrote an article about him and his recycling effort, long before it became popular. He would pick up empty tin cans on the streets of Dallas to both beautify the city and turn in for money for his parish. His ability to raise money–and save it–has added to his legendary status.

He still lives in an old rectory on the church campus at Ledbetter Drive and Bonnie View Road using all funds collected to beautify his church and pay the bills, not to update his living quarters. Once someone broke in, although he admits the police confused his housekeeping for ransacking. He has a vegetable garden outside his rectory, and can be spotted at the local Audubon Center, bird watching. A recent blog on this passion is framed in the 300 hallway of Bishop Dunne. His parishioners say he’s a “one-in-a-million priest,” and has, more than once, literally given the coat off his back to a needy stranger.

Fr. Tim’s father was an Austrian immigrant who joined the U.S. Navy as a teen and moved his family from base to base. They were at Pearl Harbor, having just returned from church, when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941. Then in the second grade, Fr. Tim recalls his father strapping on a pistol and reporting to a battle station. Fr. Tim, his brother Michael David, and their mother relocated to Tyler. Ten years later a high school friend said he was considering the priesthood, and was following a priest's advice to pray about the matter for three days. Fr. Tim decided to do the same. By the end of three days, Father Tim recalls, he thought, “Oh, doggone it. Someone's calling me.”

Fr. Tim went to seminary in San Antonio, then for four years in Rome, graduating with two future U.S. cardinals. Ordained in 1958, he served various positions in the Dallas Diocese before arriving at Holy Cross in June 1969. The church had been founded more than a decade before by Czech families who moved north from Ennis.

The church had begun a transition when Fr. Tim arrived, and now has about 700 families, mainly Hispanic and African American, with some Czech families remaining. In the early 1980s, it was one of Dallas' first sanctuary churches for refugees from civil war in Central America, and now its diversity continues. Between the English and Spanish Masses—all led by Fr. Tim—members gather for meals.

He had a heart attack in 2006, suffered just as he was to lead Mass at the VA, where quick care saved his life.

His father survived the war and retired as a sea captain. Later in life he took an interest in Geology. Fr. Tim’s brother was a certified public accountant. Both men became environmentalists, much like Fr. Tim, and his donation for the environmental science lab is to be named for the family in his brother’s honor. He is also giving Bishop Dunne his father’s rock collection for Bishop Dunne students to enjoy.

At 81, Fr. Tim plans to keep working, including trips to Bishop Dunne to visit with his former students, as he did when the Class of ’65 returned for their 50th reunion at Homecoming on October 2, 2015. His legacy at Bishop Dunne spans five decades. The classroom he’s built in his brother’s name will help future Falcons for decades more to come.
 

To learn more about Bishop Dunne and its science programs see the school’s website: www.bdcs.org or contact the Science Department chair Roger Palmer at rpalmer@bdcs.org

National Geographic Photographer Joe Sartore will be the first GEO TECH speaker on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. For more information on the GEOTECH series see the school’s website.

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