A rare prayer for a friend

“Mons” spreading the good news at WLPO FM.
Photo provided to (and liberated from) The Catholic Post.

• Editor’s note: This is a guest post from my old comrade Charles Pelkey, first published on Facebook. One of the people who helped make his Live Update Guy operation so much fun has fallen victim to The Bug® and is in a bad way. Msgr. Richard Soseman’s essays were a highlight of our coverage of the grand tours, which often leaned more toward low comedy than high art. “Mons,” as he came to be known, put a high gloss on our rattly old jalopy. I wish him a speedy return to health and his ministry, and I hope you will too.

By Charles Pelkey

My friend, Richard “Mons” Soseman, is currently under sedation and on a ventilator because of a COVID-19 infection. We first met while his ministry brought him to the Holy City in Rome.  The Monsignor (hence the moniker “Mons”) has since returned to the U.S., now serving as pastor at Saint Joseph’s in Peru, Illinois.

Mons is an avid cycling fan, which is how we got to know each other. He often wrote beautiful and detailed essays to be included in daily coverage on LiveUpdateGuy.com. He twice hosted my son at the Vatican in Rome over the course of several years.

The monsignor on the job in Rome, hosting visitor Philip Pelkey.

Mons would light candles in Saint Peter’s Basilica for me when I was taking finals in law school, during the bar exam, and when I developed breast cancer. I finally told him, “You know, Padre, I have a confession: I am not a man of faith.”

Not missing a beat, he quickly said: “Oh, Charles, I already knew that. It’s okay. I am,” and he went on lighting candles just as before.

Now it’s our turn. Please keep this sweet, sweet man in your thoughts — or prayers — as he fights the biggest challenge of his life. Pray, light candles, send good vibes, but above all, keep Mons in your thoughts.

Mons took the risks of COVID seriously and took as many precautions as possible. Nonetheless, he caught the virus and is now quite ill. Please be careful out there.

Godspeed, Padre. A lot of us out here love you.

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29 Responses to “A rare prayer for a friend”

  1. JD Says:

    Sad news indeed.
    Wishing Mons a full and speedy recovery. He has brightened so many lives by his words and example. Godspeed!!

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I’ll forswear my skepticism about religion for the present and pray for Mons.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m not a believer myself, but that didn’t matter to Mons. He kept kicking in those essays, even on the days when Charles was off lawyering and there was some vile, foulmouthed, ill-tempered old heathen at the controls.

      Meanwhile, while we hope the Lord has His eye on the sparrow, I see The Washington Post has one jaundiced peeper on New Mexico.

      • khal spencer Says:

        “New Mexico has one of the lowest numbers of per capita hospital beds of any state in the nation. That, combined with an unusually high percentage of elderly and low-income residents, makes the state particularly vulnerable to a covid surge.”

        Yep. The fact that this became so political and we had the old “I have a Constitutional Right to not wear a mask” didn’t help much but even in blue parts of the state, the Covid map is bright red (Santa Fe, Los Alamos, etc), so its not just politics in play. I think once you get to a certain amount of community spread, its just really hard to control it. There are too many ways to be in the common area of that Venn Diagram.

        Battle fatigue is certainly part of it. Plus, its a virus. Its gonna spread.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Yup. We also have quite a few multigenerational households, possibly more so than some other states. If I catch The Bug®, I only have Herself at home to share it with. Other houses might have Ma, Pa, Buddy, Sis, Meemaw, Peepaw, the grandbabies, etc.

        And Albuquerque is a hub, retail and otherwise, for a lot of smaller communities. People from Fanta Se and elsewhere come here to shop at Costco and Cabelas, get medical care, use the Sunport, and what have you.

        Up in Colorado Pueblo is a similar regional hub, with similar problems. Folks travel and bring their little viral hitchhikers with them.

  3. Hurben Says:

    Sending prayers, best wishes & thoughts for Mons from Down Under

  4. Dale Says:

    I remember Mons from the days of LUG. He is a character – a priest in a place where one would not expect to find a man of God (MOG).
    I wish him well.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Truly a righteous man. Malice toward none and charity for all, as the fella once said.

      Charles and I were talking about him the other day and I said that Mons was the only one of us who really worked at LUG. We were winging it, flying by the seats of our pants, making it up as we went along. And then here came Mons with a deep, thoughtful, well-researched contribution.

      Makes you wonder who the real pro was in that little journalistical organization, dunnit?

  5. Libby Says:

    Very sad news. His essays were great and LUG and readers could easily riff off the subject matter which were broad and deep and often contained side roads, detours,hurdles and multitextured insights. Hoping and praying in my secular way he makes a full recovery.

    I wish more people understood how few respiratory therapists there are available on a staff when hospitals inundated by patients who need their assistance. In the past, I have seen these professionals working with a family member in the CCU. Let there be good news for Mons.

  6. Shawn Says:

    Damn ! Holy damn ! What a wonderful perspective he brought (brings) to LUG updates. Yep, I’ll pray for him religious or not. He brightened (brightens) many of my days with his honest and candid perspective. I just tried to bribe God telling him that LUG and O’Grady would do the 2021 TDF if Mons could be part of the show. HE said well, I might just turn on the ice machines in the Trump casino for that…

    But comedy and commitments from others without their knowledge aside, Get well soon Father.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It was always something to behold. Charles and I would be plodding along with witticisms like, “80km to go and the break has 5:09,” “So-and-so gets a new wheel,” or “Sunflowers off the port bow.” Half-sentences, half-thought out.

      And then, boom, Mons would drop this giant post about the history, geography, gastronomy, and viniculture of the country through which the day’s stage was passing. Not too shabby for a sky pilot out of Moline, Illinois.

  7. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Sending good vibes to Mons.
    What makes COVID-19 so scary is the docs really don’t understand why it hits some people so hard while others shake it off in a few days with mild symptoms. Mins didn’t deserve this, and I hope he gets better quick.

    • khal spencer Says:

      Each of us has different immune reactions, I guess. Meena and I both got the shingles shots this year, which is a first and a second shot. I got mine and the first was a nothingburger and the second had me a little grumpy for a couple days.

      Meena got her second shot and was in bed with a fever the next day and sick for three. I called the pharmacist and they said, “yeah, some people react really badly to the second shot. This is normal, but a whole lot better than getting shingles” That normal was a big scary until we talked to the pros.

      Some good friends told us their daughter and her beau both got Covid and were pretty sick in spite of being healty as horses and really fit. They recovered completely, though.

      Me? I’d rather take my chances running into trees. A little more predictable outcome.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I do not want to get this shit. Too many bouts with pneumonia, bronchitis, allergies, asthma, and what have you. It was real smart to smoke all that tobacco, weed, hashish, and cocaine, too. But back then who knew my golden years would coincide with a global plague? I wouldn’t be surprised if a chest X-ray found a stoned Alien with emphysema camped out in there.

      Also, heaven forbid we should get what we deserve. If so, I’m in for a rough ol’ ride.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Yeah. I spent the last few years of grad school carrying around an Albuterol emergency inhaler as I had really, really bad exercise induced asthma. Had me down and out under a tree a few times on bike rides and scared the shit out of my riding buddies, not to mention, me. So I don’t know how much damage I did, since that seems to have subsided with getting out of grad school, over the divorce, and off the East Coast. But more recently, when I was working in the nuclear facility and had to pass a full physical every year, I had some trouble passing the spirometry test.

        I don’t want to roll that set of dice either. Might just come back with snake eyes.

    • SAO' Says:

      On top of all that, the after-effects are a total crap shoot as well.

      We got to see what it does to a 90 year old with Alzheimer’s up close and personal. She survived the infection, never went to the hospital. But it accelerated her Alzheimer’s by some incalculable amount, killed her in 3 weeks. Her kids said it was like watching someone get to the top of track on a rollercoaster and then just take off downhill.

      And the research is struggling, because we’re looking at the effects of something on a thing we’re still learning about


      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        And then there’s the collateral damage. This Washington Post story about an injured, wheelchair-bound, 64-year-old truck driver trapped in an Ohio nursing home reads like a horror-movie script. It’s out there, creeping down the hallway toward his room, and there’s nothing he can do about it.

        The first thing I do when I wake up is look down the hallway for the big plastic sheet. That’s what they use to block off the covid area. They sectioned off a whole wing a few days before Thanksgiving. Then they blocked another hallway earlier this week. That plastic sheet keeps moving closer. I’m trying not to panic, but where am I supposed to go? It’s not like I can jump up and make a run for it. I’m in a wheelchair. I haven’t been outside for months. I’m trapped, just like everybody else in this place. We’re at the mercy of this virus. We sit in here and we wait.

  8. khal spencer Says:

    Hey, has anyone else here subscribed to The Cycling Independent? Wondering what you think of it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I have not subscribed, though I peek over the transom now and then.

      I should probably kick Padraig and his merry band some Dead President Trading Cards just for having the stones to launch something in this day and age. I don’t support any cycling sites/publications, unless you count the two I write/cartoon for. But then again I don’t read any either, not really. I do scan the headlines at Bicycle Retailer, and check their Twitter feed to see if there’s anything interesting to blog or cartoon about.

      Still, having nosed casually around the CI, I can say that I enjoy Emlyn’s stuff, and of course Stevil Kinevil is always worth reading. It’s great to see that they’ve managed some sort of arrangement with Diane “The Outspoken Cyclist” Jenks, too.

      OK, you talked me into it. I’ma gimmum some moneys.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I used to follow RKP from time to time, so when Padraig et al said they were setting up a cycling journal for the cycling community rather than one aspect of it, I said, “wtf, I don’t notice every month when the Santa Fe New Mexican, Albuquerque Journal, NY Times, KSFR, KUNM, and KANW all pick my pocket. What’s one more auto withdrawal, at least while I am getting a paycheck from Uncle Sam?” So there you go. I do enjoy a lot of their stuff.

  9. SAO' Says:

    Mons, if you’re listening, we’re all pulling for you.

    Scroll down to CPelkey’s 19:49 post for happier times!


  10. khal spencer Says:

    Is Charles going to keep us updated?

  11. khal spencer Says:

    “Mons” on The Bug and faith.

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