Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Keeping the Faith

Today was the funeral of "little Francis" as I like to refer to him. Jenn wrote about his passing the other day. We went together.

He served our church for so many years as an usher. He seemed to be at every mass, helping little old ladies out of their cars, holding a baby so it's mom could go up and receive Communion in peace or just finding you a seat if you slipped in a little late. He was a fixture in our church. It made us glad that the church was packed to the rafters. Standing room only. His immediate family was very few in number but, like our pastor said, the church was filled with his extended family. Our pastor gave a lovely eulogy, joked about his colorful choice of clothing and his sometimes unemotional Irish exterior. He truly embodied one of God's angels on earth. And looking around this morning, I know he will be very missed.

Times like this, even though it was very sad, it makes me glad I am Catholic. I don't usually go on about religion (or politics) its more of a personal thing for me. The rituals and tradition we have are comforting at times like this. Sometimes we Catholics get a bad rap. It annoys me how it's easy for people to poke fun at it or belittle it. Of course there are things that could change. There are things I don't agree with. And yes there are a few bad seeds that make it tough for the good ones. I suppose that's with any religion or group. I don't always agree with what my political party does either but that doesn't mean I wouldn't vote or go over to the dark side.

But having religion in my life is good. I feel bad for people who are "nothing". I think you need to be something. I am not saying that being Catholic is for everyone. But there should be some way you worship, something that you believe in. I love that the Diva is a "Disciple" and sings with the youth choir at church. Not a lot of teenagers would do that. I probably wouldn't have when I was 16 I can tell you that, although I should have. I cannot describe the feeling, sitting at mass and hearing your child's solo voice coming from the choir loft.

Mike makes his communion this year. And even though he grumbles about going to religion class, and sitting still in church, someday he will be glad we made him do it.

After Francis didn't show up at mass on Friday morning like he did every day, they said they found him at home already dressed for church, sitting in his chair. I like to think that he was getting ready for something more than ushering at mass. As I sat there today listening to stories about Francis, I just felt him already sitting in heaven smiling down and my faith makes me truly believe that.

On his funeral mass booklet it said "Well done, thou good and faithful servant...Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matthew 25:21).

Well done indeed.

Jenn's two cents: When you leave this earth, what you leave behind is a testament to the type of life you lead. Francis packed the church - like any big Catholic holiday, there was not a seat to be had and mourners were standing in the isles. Tears were streaming down faces and even the Priests were choked up. All the people who came to say goodbye to Francis were a testament to all the people he touched while here on earth. He had very little family, no children or grandchildren, but he had his St. Mary's family and we were all there because we knew him. So Good Ride Francis, Life well lived - may I learn from you a valuable lesson. Being kind and helping others is what it's all about. It's one thing to say it, it's another to know and honor a man who actually did it.


Anonymous said...

A smiling, humble presence at St. Mary's will be missed for a very long time. Rest in peace, Francis; watch over your parish family.

Anonymous said...

This post really touched me...loved what both of you had to say about our faith. I am proud of our parish and its parishoners for mourning the loss of a fine Catholic and celebrating his life well-lived! Amen sisters!

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