Sunday, December 6, 2009

In Sadness There is Joy

Yesterday afternoon I received a telephone call . When the phone rang I almost answered by saying "yeah, what do you want," as I thought it was one of my buddies down the hall calling. Instead it was my mentor calling to pass on some unfortunate news he had just heard, the pastor of my parish assignment at the seminary had been found dead earlier in the morning. I was of course shocked and saddened. Msgr was scheduled to retire the next day, today. He had recently been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease and was beginning to have serious mobility issues, but no one expected this at all. From what I understand he had visitors the night before, including a priest friend who gave him a blessing and absolution while he sat in his favorite chair. The next morning he was found having passed away in his chair. Msgr. was a good man who had faithfully given his entire life to serve the Church. In keeping with a dream he had always had, he returned home to the parish of his childhood and spent the last nine years there, where his faith life began. As sad as his passing is I cannot help but to be moved by the beauty of his passing. He quietly passed into eternal life, resting comfortably just feet from his family parish, having just received the Sacrament of the sick and absolution, resting comfortably in his favorite chair. This morning I am off for Mass at the parish. As seminarians we are part of the parish community, serving at Mass and participating in events, classes, etc... This Sunday instead of attending the Pastor's going way party and the 11:30 Mass being said in his honor, we will be praying for him and hoping that he is enjoying the ultimate retirement party, eternal life with He who made us. Today there will be no party, only the tears of a parish and community grateful for the gift of a man who was one of their own and his faith.


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