Sorry for not posting in quite a while. The last 10 weeks have been quite a journey and not sure where to start; so I will start with what has kept me from having the energy or desire to post.
On March 17th, I lost a dear friend, Deacon Al Weber. I have known Dcn Al for over 19 years. He and his wife Marilyn were one of the first families to welcome us to St Thomas the Apostle Church. At the time, we were a young family with two small children and we immediately felt welcome. Over the years, Al was a constant presence in the church, and this was before he became a deacon.
Dcn Al's influence on my exploration into the diaconate cannot be underestimated. His emphasis on service to the Church, which is mostly unseen by the parish at large, deeply moved me. Once I entered formation, he calmed many of my fears and helped me understand the process. We had recently begun a ritual of meeting for evening prayer on Thursday evenings.
So on a Thursday evening in January, Al complained about his Crohn's Disease acting up. He had been suffering with this disease for many years. He finally went to the doctor and had a CAT scan, where they found a mass in his small intestines. A week or so later he was admitted to the hospital to have it removed. Long story made short, he was diagnosed with cancer in his small intestines and it had already metastasized to his liver. He had the mass removed but his health deteriorated rapidly after the surgery. He was back in the hospital one more time to insert a feeding tube because he was not able to eat due to his liver shutting down. At this point, he was in and out of consciousness. After he was stabilized, he was moved to hospice where I was able to visit with him on several occasions. He was never awake but I felt I needed to keep vigil. Dcn Al died on St Patrick's Day.
One of the last things Dcn Al said to me before his last trip to the hospital was that Karen and I should do those things that we dream about and do it sooner rather than later. He said "we never know how long we have in this life so we should live it to the fullest". I think we will take his advise.
God Bless and thanks for reading.
[as a sidebar: Dcn Al was the third member of the clergy at St Thomas we have lost in the last 9 months].