Saturday, April 13, 2013

Humble, Prayerful, Friendly, and above all Faithful

It wasn't easy, but it was important to me and to my children for all of us to attend the funeral Mass of our beloved friend from our very small Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Parish.  He was 75 when he had a head on car crash coming home from church.  This man was more than any other place, coming or going to church.  He started feeling poorly on Good Friday evening, during the annual all-night vigil, and he left to go home.  He lost consciousness and had a head-on collision.

The last communication I had from him was an email reminder for our times to keep vigil.

Brothers and Sisters,
Attached is the vigil schedule for Good Friday/Holy Saturday that you volunteered for. We have covered all times from the end of Good Friday services to Holy Saturday Liturgy. What a wonderful time to spend time with Our Lord this Holy Week.
God bless you!

He was in ICU for two weeks before passing into eternal life on Divine Mercy Sunday.

My last memory of him in person was him shaking the hand of my 14 year old son after his Chrismation (Confirmation) on Palm Sunday (Pussy Willow Sunday in our church -- no palm trees in The Ukraine).  My son was the only one receiving the Sacrament and making the Faith Affirmation Commitment   This elder of our parish, who stood around 6'3" tall, was proud of him and gave him a warm smile and firm handshake to let him know he had done well.

I am crying a bit now remembering the funeral Mass.  I brought even my youngest.  I wanted him to have this memory of our friend from the Parish.  It wasn't easy getting them all to church, dressed up a bit from usual,  and then being a bit bombarded by the younger one throughout the Mass, with rather frequent questions and comments.  But it was important that they remember him, they wanted to go too, and they need to see how we say goodbye as a church community.

I want and pray that all four of my children and my husband and I live out our lives like this man.  Humble, prayerful, friendly, and above all faithful to adore, and spread adoration of the Lord.

Thank you Lord for the great good you did inside the soul and mind of your servant.  His is a light that will stay with us our whole lives.  The memory of the twinkle in his eyes, his Irish eyes, when he smiled, and the humble way he knelt and prayed, often alone in your presence, may it inspire us always.  Thank you for welcoming him home on your great feast of Divine Mercy.  Please comfort his widow and his children and grandchildren.  Thank you so much for creating and strengthening his faithful response and witness of devotion.

Thank you that he will be glorifying you now in heaven, with the veil removed, the magnitude of your glory no longer hidden in the form of bread, behind the golden door of a tabernacle in a church sanctuary.  Now he sees you, sees the hosts of angels and martyrs, and the great multitude, of which he is a member, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The Great Multitude in White Robes

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
    will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’[a]
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[b]
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’


  1. Beautifully tribute to your friend Colleen. I'm sorry for your loss! It does seem befitting though that he was called home on Divine Mercy Sunday. A special day for a special saint!

    1. Noreen, Thank you! That is right, he is a saint! Not the kind that they make statues of, but a saint by the mercy of God, and one of the ones that make our church stronger!

  2. Colleen, this is so touching. Your love for your friend really shined through, and I was near tears myself. What a beautiful way to die...leaving church on Good Friday, remaining for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord, and then meeting Him, Face to face on Divine Mercy Sunday! May your friend rest in peace. We can all only hope to be so well prepared when our time comes.

    Deepest sympathy to you, my friend. I know you miss him. I'm sure your children will always remember being a part of his life and death.

    Love and hugs.....

    1. Patricia, That is a beautiful thought that he was enduring his last passion during the Triduum. I imagine he was not long out of the Confessional when he had his accident, and certainly our priests visited him during the two weeks he was there, although I don't know if he ever regained consciousness.

      Thank you for your sympathy. You are right. I will miss him. So many conversations still going through my head. He followed the basketball team that my daughter played on and I coached in the newspaper. He would give me extra Knights of Columbus Tootsie Rolls for the girls on the team. He wouldn't let me pay for them. Oh, he is probably finding out that I ate most of them now! Just joking, (well I did eat several of them) but I am sure he is too much in awe and basking in the love and joy of God in heaven to worry about tootsie rolls. I am sure he is praying for our parish and his family in friends there, just as he did in our church.

      I remember when he told me that they need people to pray in our church for our church. He showed me the secret code on the door so I could get in at any time. What a gift that has been!

      We will remember him and look forward to seeing him when our time comes. Love and hugs to you!

  3. Colleen, I'm so glad you can joke about the tootsie rolls, even as you are missing your friend. You made me laugh! I would have eaten them too :) And...I used to often think: oh no, my mother is going to find out I did such and such when we get to Heaven; or my sister is going to know I thought that about what she did, etc.

    I finally decided that they will be so holy once in the Divine Presence that they won't care about any of the stuff I did down here! Just like your friend who is surely laughing over the tootsie rolls. Hope your race went well. Am so behind on correspondence, to say nothing of my blog. Hope to catch up soon.

    Still in shock about terror attack today. God help our country. This will never end until He does. Love you xoxo

  4. Colleen, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend...It's an amazing witness to his life that you want your family to imitate how he lived. Blessings always +

  5. I am sorry for your loss, Colleen. Your friend sounds like such a wonderful man and your post is a beautiful tribute to his life.

    God bless.