I first met Ed when he was a seminarian and doing his "you sure you really, really want to do this s**t?" year, when they send the seminarians out to parishes to see the real world. He came then to St. Joseph. I remember one year at our annual fiesta, Ed and I were listening to someone's friend's son's punk rock band that we had agreed to let play a few sets at the event. They were horrid and garbled every word, except for the refrain of one song where the lead singer repeatedly screamed, "I'm in denial! I'm in denial!" "Steph," Ed said to me, "do you think we need to worry about whether the lyrics are appropriate?" "Ed," I replied. "How would anyone know?"
Also, during that time, Ed saw to it - working with the parish's own champion in the Church Triumphant, Judy Gaspar - that the Children's Liturgy was restored.
|The official "baseball car" handed out at Ed's ordination.|
Ed had a career as a corporate lawyer before going to the priesthood. I attended his ordination and as I recall, I gave him a card that said something along the lines of, "Some lawyers quit and go into teaching. Some give up and open sports bars. But man - to join the priesthood, that's some burn out!"
Speaking of lawyers, one year I met him and Fr. Michael St. Paul heading into Holy Family cathedral for the annual Red Mass, when Catholic layers and jurists gather. Pointing at Michael, I asked Ed, "Since when did they stat allowing the laity into this gig?" Fr. Michael jokingly rebuked me, saying, "Young lady, you are the laity!" "No, Mike," said Ed, laughing. "Tonight - you are!" Then he said, turning to me, "Come on, Counsel, let's go inside . . ."
One time I was with Ed at Disneyland and he was convinced that he would only get "splashed" if he went on Splash Mountain. We got soaked. I turned around just after we hit the bottom of the slide, laughing, to find him staring at me as water streamed across his glasses, and with a complete deadpan look said, "I'm wet." As I pointed out in the next few seconds, though, it wasn't the water that would kill him, but the hypothermia from the air conditioning that would do us in. Oh, Fr. Ed was a sport and he is the person you want next to you while waiting on a long line, as his intelligence makes conversation with him a delight. Especially when speaking about matters of the faith - Ed's "late arrival" to the priesthood, so to speak, means he brings with him good life experiences and a strong vocation to be a good priest for his people.
True fact: the very first Mass that the Digison served as an altar boy was said by Ed Becker.
|Of course I photographed that milestone. Here, the Digison holds the basin for Fr. Ed before he washes his hands for Consecration.|
So, if you are one of those people who are googling "Fr. Ed Becker" in the hopes of knowing what to expect down at the funky little barrio church in downtown Santa Ana, know this: Fr. Ed is holy, smart, passionate about his vocation, outgoing, and truly cares about people. You'll be in good hands.
And maybe, just maybe - he'll be the pastor who removes the bad art from the back wall of the church.