Deacon Mulcahey Receives Quilt of Valor
By Sharon Boehlefeld, Features Editor
July 12, 2018
DURAND—Deacon Richard “Dick” Mulcahey was honored with a Quilt of Valor made by women of St. Mary/St. Patrick Parish of Durand/Irish Grove on June 30.
 
The project came together quickly, according to Terry Polizzi Cravens, coordinator of religious education for the parish.
 
The idea to make a quilt for Deacon Mulcahey came to her after a conversation with him after Mass one Sunday. She said he seemed disappointed with his doctor’s orders to cut back on activities he likes, such as visiting other parishioners.
 
“I know how appreciative my family was when he was there for my father when (my father) wasn’t doing well,” Cravens said. “The visits from Dick made his day.”  
 
She went on to tell Deacon Mulcahey that “he was Jesus for others and now it’s time for him to let other people be Jesus to him.”  
 
Shortly after their chat, she learned about Quilts of Valor. Cravens said several members of the parish are in a quilt club and were aware of the Quilt of Valor group at Lucky Quilting in Pecatonica.
 
Cravens, though, first heard about it a day or two after her talk with Deacon Mulcahey.
 
“I received an email about the Quilts of Valor organization, and St. Anne’s (Council of Catholic Women) just happened to be holding a quilt day in the church hall,” Craven said. “I walked over and asked them about the parish making a Quilt of Valor for Dick.”
 
The response was enthusiastic. Several women met at the church to cut pieces and assemble “square kits” to give to parish quilters. 
 
By the time St. Anne’s CCW held its spring banquet on May 16, the packages were ready and members at the banquet were asked to make a block for the quilt. 
 
When the individual squares came back, another parishioner, Fran Waller, “long-armed” them. She  used a special sewing machine arm to assemble the quilt top, batting and backing into the finished quilt.
 
Waller said she received the pieces about a week before the presentation on June 30.
 
The parish women enlisted the deacon’s wife, Anna Mae Mulcahey, to make sure her husband made it to the 4:30  p.m. Mass on June 30. 
 
Parishioner Lydia Johnson, one of the project organizers, made the presentation to “Deacon Dick,” as he is known in the parish.
 
“This quilt is an expression of gratitude meant to thank and comfort you,” Johnson said. “We believe that as we sew ... love, caring, and gratitude flow from our hearts, through our hands, into the quilts we make. All of us, as quilters, want you to know that through our quilts, you are forever in our hearts. 
 
“This Quilt of Valor unequivocally says thank you for your service, sacrifice, and valor in serving our nation,” she said.
 
But the thank you extended beyond his service in the Marines during the Korean War.
 
20 squares of thanks
 
Each of the 20 squares that make up the quilt holds a signature, a reference to Deacon Mulcahey’s church and civic service, or a verse from the Bible. 
 
The signatures are from Bishop David Malloy; Father Matthew Bergschneider, pastor; Msgr. Eric Barr, Msgr. Thomas Monahan and Father Karl Ganss, former pastors, and Deacon Steve Pulkrabek, who also serves the parish.
 
Other squares recognized his service to: 
 
– St. Vincent de Paul Society, member and spiritual advisor; 
– St. Anne’s CCW, thanks                                     for his encouragement and support; 
– United States Marine Corps,  service  during the Korean War.
– State of Illinois, member of  the Illinois House of Representatives; 
– Parish Office Staff, for guidance and assistance; 
– Religious Education, for his  example, and as a catechist, passing on the faith to the youth of the parish; 
– Durand High School, for his years as a teacher;
– St. Mary/St. Patrick Parish, for his service as a deacon; and 
– For a lifetime of service.
Bible verses were Jn 15:13, Rom 12:1, Jer 31:33, Ps 34:5, and Jer 1:5.