Today was a sad, moving and joyous day for the seminary.
Unfortuantely one of the deacon's mother passed away last week and was laid to rest in Massachesuetts this morning. Many of the guys went up with the rector to show their support. My heart breaks as the deacon's mom passed away a month before his ordination. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for him to have gotten so close to sharing this special day with his family and to have lost the closest person to him. Please keep the repose of the soul of Margaret Lanoe in your prayers.
Today was also an emotionally moving day in the seminary in a strange sort of way. Today's regularly scheduled 11:30am Mass was a funeral for a former employee of the seminary. Mary Moore had worked for the seminary for over thirty years adn had been retired for the past ten. She was never married, had no children and no family. For thirty years she gave her heart and soul to the seminary. She never had much money and lived a few blocks away in a small apartment. Today the seminary laid her to rest amidst the beautiful place she loved so much. She was alone in life and had little to call her own, yet she never lost her dignity and inner beauty. Knowing that she had noone to look after her in her old age, many of her former collegues and priests on staff adopted her in her final years. They spent time visiting her and even made sure to bring her back to visit regularly. I found the entire funeral incredibly moving on many levels. On the first level it was moving because she was an amazing woman who contributed so much to the seminary. Her example was as powerful as they come. On a secondary level I was moved to see that someone the world had forgotten, was not forgotten. She was alone and had no blood relatives present at her final hour and no one to tend to her final affairs. None-the-less her St. Mary's family was there and committed her to the hands of God with the utmost beauty, dignity and love. (It is not uncommon in many Catholic Churches for priests to celebrate funeral masses for those who have no family, no friends, no mourners. - Mary had them, but many don't. Never-the-less I find there is a great beauty and diginity given to the poor when the Church does this. Not only does it offer prayers for the deceased, it also gives them the dignity in death which they were denied in life).
Today also marked the arrival of Father Richard Kelley from St. Christopher's in Nashua. Father Kelley graciouslly decided to come down and visit all the New Hampshire seminarians at St. Mary's. It is great to have company and familar faces when studying far from home. Tomorrow I will take Father to the newly renevated Basilica and later in the evening we will all be going out for dinner. :) I promised him I would not put on the blog that I crushed him in a game of pool in our seminary lounge. Don't worry father I won't tell anyone.