In Grief, You Touched My Heart…
I’ve always believed that it is in difficult times that we learn the most about one another. Parents, teachers, coaches can attest to that. And in many ways, the same is true for a pastor.
But these past two weeks, I honestly didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know about all of you here at St. Genevieve.
I learned early on after my arrival as a stranger 16 months ago that I had been blessed with the most caring, supportive and faithful parishioners a pastor could pray for. In a relatively short period of time, God has blessed me with me a parish full of friends that I cherish and always will. I love my friends from Our Lady of Calvary the same way, after just two years there.
And these past two weeks, I can’t thank you enough for being there for me, my Dad and the Mulligan family, in prayer and support, condolences, Mass cards and thoughtful remembrances as we laid my beloved Mom, Betty, to rest on Tuesday. Whether a consoling hug or handshake, or a promise of a prayer after Sunday or weekday Masses, it strengthened me. The outpouring of love and support from this amazing St. Genevieve parish family at my mother’s viewing and/or her funeral Mass at St. Philip’s on Tuesday touched me deeply. Seemingly, every branch of our parish was there in support, from Fr. Lyons, Fr. Carl, Deacon Conroy; our SGS faculty and student council, to entire families with your children; daily 8am Mass goers; members of our many committees, ministries and organizations; and the best parish rectory staff a pastor could have. They never missed a beat without me for a few days as we prayed Mom toward heaven. Whatever was needed, it got done. I was as worry-free as I am blessed.
Thank you, everyone, for that prayer for strength to get through my homily, or the prayers and Masses you offered for my Dad and all of us, or the prayers for Mom’s peace.
All were answered. It was the most beautiful experience that the painful loss of a Mother of seven could possibly be, from her final hours to the sharing of so many memories the day of the funeral. They will never end.
My only regret is that more of you never had the chance to meet her, or hear her beautiful Irish singing voice, or have her brighten your day with kindness, a smile or a story about me to make you laugh. Her life was one of Love of God, Love of Neighbor, Love of Life and all of us.
She was one in a million. And so are all of you. Thank you.