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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Please Pray for

the repose of the soul of Alex M. Alex was only 39 and had died the Wednesday before Easter of cancer. He was baptized in our church and also recieved his first Communion, Confession and Confirmation here. Alex had gone away to boarding school back east for high school and then on to college, and eventually moved to the Bay area, and had only married 15 months ago. His parents, still bedrock parishioners, and siblings remain in the area. His folks were some of the first I'd met when I first became a member of the parish at age 15-16 or so.

Three priests were at the funeral Mass for him today, our Pastor, and the two priests who'd been there in his youth, including the one who baptized him, Msgr. Tom. The church was more packed then I'd ever seen it. It seats 232 people. Adding those in the choir and sanctuary and those standing along the walls and at the back accounted for at least another 110 people. I know, because I counted from my vantage point in the choir loft.

I was privileged to have him as a youngster in my CCD classes, 1st when he was 8, then at age 11. His particular class (I had taught 3rd graders for 3 years, then 6th graders for 3 years) was the most memorable. Very bright, engaging children, and the most fun. I had recently come across some photos of him and his classmates taken after a Christmas pageant. When I get a chance, I will do a bit of photoshopping to correct the aged color imbalance, and send copies to his parents. He'd played Herod, and had a terrific costume. If one looks up the dictionary for the definition of the word "imp" his face would be there.

All during the service the memories of the parish came flooding back from when the middle aged were young, the priests in the prime of their service, and those now old and gray were in their prime too. His funeral was an illustration of WHY people stay in parishes through thick and thin. Because the parish belongs to the people, and though the priests are a big part of it, the parishioners were there before the priests and will be there after any given priest.

I lingered after most had left, having had a spate of tears come on at the Ave Maria. I noticed Msgr. Tom had to wipe his eyes during that too, and I'm sure we weren't the only ones. When I was young, I did not understand why adults say to lose a child is harder to lose than a parent. Alex's funeral today reminded me why this is so.

"Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

May his soul and all the souls of the faithful

departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.




Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the moving post Karen..

Kit said...

Oh, how terribly sad, Karen! And what a beautiful post. I will say extra prayers for Alex at Mass this afternoon - here's the closing prayer of the Divine Mercy Chaplet:

"Eternal God in whom Mercy is endless and the treasury of Compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your Mercy in us so that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent but, with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy itself."

The Digital Hairshirt said...

Karen, I will offer a prayer for his soul when Father elevates the Host today at Mass.

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, thank you all. In bittersweet ways these sorts of events are the wellspring of Catholic living...and dying.

It is so heartening and refreshing to know with all the clutter of modern secularism that there really are millions of people who feel the same or similar and have similar responses.

Therese said...

I am very sorry to read of this. Dying at a young age is always difficult.

Many prayers for his family he has left behind.

EC Gefroh said...

It brought tears as I was reading your beautiful post Karen. May Alex rest in peace.

Adrienne said...

Praying here. Poor wife.

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