Honoring a man who honored God as he departs for his reward in heaven.
When a loved one or friend dies, it is always a solemn experience. Filled with memories, traditions, respect and love, one only has to close one’s eyes to remember their goodness.
One such man died recently and was remembered and honored by more than 1,000 people. He neither sought nor needed earthly honoring, as he was a gentle and humble man, but because he was who he was, they honored him.
With a strong work ethic from an early age, he became, in the American tradition, a very successful man. He married a beautiful young woman and together they raised a strong and committed Catholic family. Their lives reflected the peace and joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and following him all of their lives. Daily you would see them at early morning Mass when the children were small. In later years, their children’s children surrounded them every morning at the church they were raised in. Their example was quieting yet poignant; you could not help but be moved by them, their dignity and grace. Their six children gave them 47 grandchildren and one beautiful great grandson, born just months before he left them all for his heavenly reward.
The Catholic Mass celebrated in his honor was a very holy experience. Grandsons carried their grandfather’s coffin into the church. Younger grandsons were altar servers and others carried the gifts. A young granddaughter sang the Ave Maria with grace and tenderness; grandchildren read the sacred scriptures and his only son delivered his eulogy.
He began by first thanking his mother for caring so beautifully for their father and for giving them all the example of Jesus himself. He reminded the children that their grandfather’s legacy of God and family would be carried out by the lives they lived in remembrance of him. He then shared that his father said, “God bless you” to each and every visitor who stopped by to see him and say goodbye.
Since God had so richly blessed his whole life, he wanted to be sure that his parting gift would be to ask God to richly bless those he left behind. It was so like him. A friend attending the Mass was heard to say, “It’s like being in heaven.” It was.