I. Death Invades Our Living: Even though he was 91 years of age, my dad’s death was a surprise! We know that death is a natural part of life, and none of us will get out of this world alive, but I was surprised to get the message, while in Rome, that my dad had died. To make things worse, I had lost my phone in Assisi, so it took my family thirty hours to get in touch with me. Eventually, we were able, with an additional fee, to alter my return flight to the U.S. so that I got back late Thursday evening. There was visitation on Friday, and his funeral on Saturday, September 12. My dad was rich in love, compassion, service, and faith. He was prepared and eager for the next stage of his life and ready to join my mother in their eternal home! For your many expressions of kindness, sympathy and support during this tough time, I am grateful. If you have lost a loved one, you already know how comforting that can be. Thank you!
II. Viva La Roma! Despite being cut a day short, the 40th anniversary of ordination reunion of my class in the Eternal City was terrific! Two highlights certainly were the celebration of Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls where Paul was buried, and at the Basilica of Saint Peter where Peter was buried. Another highlight was visiting the tombs of Saints Francis and Claire in Assisi. How amazing is it that the lives of these four people still impact and inspire our lives today! The regularly scheduled papal audience in St. Peter’s Square with 100,000+ people from all over the world was exhilarated by a photo-op with Pope Francis! The Italian culture, embraced by it’s delicious cuisine, hearty wine, and warm people, was enjoyed by twenty of us from the Class of ‘75!
III. What Comes Between You and the Lord? At the Church of Saint Louis in Rome, there is the original painting of “The Call of Matthew” by Caravaggio. One detects the surprise on Matthew’s face when Jesus beckons him, and one cannot miss the position of several gold coins between Matthew and Jesus in this masterpiece! As we celebrate the feast of Saint Matthew on Monday, September 21, let each one of us ponder the question: In my life, what gets in the way of my responding more wholeheartedly to Jesus’ call?
IV. Father Suneesh Away: Speaking of St. Matthew’s feast day, a vacation (not vocation!) is calling Fr. Suneesh Mathew by name! He will be away from our parish September 22 to October 2. We pray that Fr. Suneesh has a good time and returns to Saint Stephen Cathedral safe, sound, content!
In Joy and Hope,