Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Difficult Week

Where do I start? Monday morning, we got news that one of our priests with cancer (we have two) has become inoperable. As a result, he was scheduled to travel to his home in Argentina to be with his family. What resulted was a flurry of e-mails and ended with ~1,000 parishioners lining both sides of the driveway to see him off to the airport. The crowd grew so large that his car had to go up and down several sections of the parking lot to see everyone. Of course those at the beginning of the procession ran to a place where they could see him again. The crowd was several "people deep" when his car finally left the parking lot. It was both a beautiful and tragic scene.

While waiting for Father's car, we got word that
  1. Our priest in residence, Fr Leo, had just lost his battle with diabetes (one of our priests was seen leaving the the parking lot in a hurry, which was not easy with the crowd); and
  2. A dear friend's wife had taken a dramatic turn in her battle with cancer and was not expected to live much longer.
For many in the crowd, it was just too much bad news at one time.

As soon as we left the church, my wife and I went to see our friend's at the rehab center. She was lying in her bed; her eyes were open but she was not responsive and had labored breathing. Her husband, sat in a chair next to her, holding her hand and making sure she did not drop her rosary. The fatigue and hurt in his face was almost more than I could take. Their two daughters were there as well.

When we walked in, he looked up to me and one of the first things he said was "So you really want to be a Deacon?" knowing that this would be one of my ministries. He then spoke about their trip to Rome, Italy last month and how she did not deserve to suffer the way she had over the last few years. After about half an hour of visiting with the family, we left so that they could keep vigil as a family. She passed away at 11:00 last night.

It is hard to describe my feelings about all of this. It makes all of our personal difficulties seem irrelevant. And there is a need for someone to be there for people who are suffering. I pray for the strength and wisdom to help, what little I can, those who need that someone.

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