Friday, May 5, 2017

"Seems that I was busy doing something close to nothing"

This past Tuesday, 2 May, which was my oldest child's 23rd birthday (Yikes!), Archbishop George Niederauer, who ordained me when he served as bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, passed away at age 80. He had been in declining health for much of the last year and lingering on the edge of mortality since at least Holy Week. He was a wonderful person- smart, funny, witty, deeply caring. I was privileged to know him quite well and considered him a friend. Like all of our bishops, extending back to Bishop Federal, who ordained the first permanent deacons for our diocese in 1976, George Hugh Niederauer was a big supporter of the permanent diaconate and a bishop who appreciated his own deacons and understood our vital ministry. Requiscat, George, in pace.

Just yesterday a friend, colleague, and sister in Christ Karen Lee passed over today. She passed into God's loving arms on a beautiful Easter Thursday. It was cancer that killed her. Two weeks ago Wednesday, after she decided to forego any more chemo treatments, thus acknowledging after a heroic year-long battle that her condition was terminal, she hosted a party. It was hard to say "Farewell." Of course, her condition was only terminal with regard to mortality. Having prepared herself well, Karen was ready to meet the Lord. But it's difficult to commend someone to God. Maybe it's shows a lack of trust, a lack of faith, on my part. I guess that's what Christian funerals are for. She fought her good fight with grace and a smile.

Our statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in our front garden

As St Paul wrote in what was very likely the first of his New Testament letters-
We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep (1 Thess 4:13-14)

May, of course, is the month of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It seems fitting to invoke her intercession: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

I am having a good day today despite myself, which is the only way I have good days. I am glad this is my first post for the month of May. I was privileged to assist my bishop, Oscar Solis, at our St Olaf School Mass this morning. Today marked the second time I have served alongside him. I look forward to doing so again when he comes to St Olaf to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation next month. Tomorrow is another of my sons' First Holy Communion.

Prior to Mass, I spent the early part of this beautiful Spring day with my lovely wife. Our time together made feel great, like a young man in Spring back when, on a day like this, anything seemed possible. And so, apropos of nothing, our Friday traditio is the The Hindu Love Gods, which is basically REM sans Michael Stipe, with guest Warren Zevon singing Prince's "Rapsberry Beret." I was singing this song to my love this morning. She was a good sport and humored me

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