The weather was just right today in Cornwall. The sun rose early in clear blue skies. For me, it was the day to say good bye to a long-time friend, and the weather made it so much easier. A refreshing breeze of the kind that one enjoys by the sea, kept the cathedral sized church of St. Columban’s, comfortable, despite the overflow of people who gathered.
As I entered the church and proceeded to the vesting room, I was greeted by friends, both new and old, and it was a comforting trip down memory lane. All of us had one thing in common, Fr. Gary, and we had come to pray for him, and to celebrate his faith and our own faith.
Looking out from the Sactuary at the throngs of mourners who had gathered for the funeral mass, both in groups (military, relgious, lay movements), and as individuals and families, I thought of words spoken by Sr. Joan Chittister: “We are, each one of us, stones skipped across the waters of the universe. The ripples of our presence, whatever it is, radiates forever.” Fr. Gary had brought us all here because he had, in one way or another, touched our lives, and his presence still radiates.
As we all gathered around the Lord’s Table, Jesus’ proclamation reverberated in my mind: “You are the light of the world.” If led by God’s loving spirit, how could we not be bearers of light? Indeed, each one of us has this power by allowing the Lord to dwell in our hearts and living the Good news. Again, the words of Sr. Joan: “What people see in you, they know to look for within themselves. What people see in you, they too may hope to extract from the depths of their own hearts.”
Thank You Fr. Gary for touching my heart, and the hearts of so many. May God grant you eternal joy and happines in the eternal home where we all hope to gather again some day. My prayer this day is that the Lord has welcomed you with great joy with the words: Well done, good and faithful servant.
May He Rest In Peace
June 2, 2008
See Photo Album: Fr. Gary (Flickr)