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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Death and New Life

It's been a draining few days on the priesthood front, but also days filled with consolation. On Thursday I flew to Tampa to say goodbye to my good friend Joe. It wasn't exactly how I'd envisioned our next meeting. But it was good to celebrate his life with so many others whose lives he had touched over the years. Over 600 people turned out for the funeral. What an honor, too, to be able to concelebrate his funeral mass. It was beautiful, and finished with a moving procession outside the chapel and down the drive of the high school, where people lined either side holding candles. It was exactly the kind of thing Joe would have done for somebody else (though it might not have been as well organized!). On Thursday night, I sat with a group of Jesuits and reminisced about our times with Joe. It was exactly what I needed. I got a good night's sleep, and then headed back home.

Today, I had the joy of beginning marriage preparation with a couple whose wedding I will witness next Fall. What an honor too to be with them as we discuss preparations for their new life together. I look forward to the coming months, getting to know them better, and helping them to get to know each other better, and what marriage will mean for them.

These are the privileged moments, both sad and happy, that are among the blessings of being a priest. Then there is also the mixed blessing of having the 8:00 am mass tomorrow morning. Time to go finish my homily . . . (I wonder if they'll have any rose vestments)