Coming Up for Air

Readers of this blog may have been wondering where I’ve been.

Not wanting to complain or seek sympathy, but it’s been a tough six weeks. It started on a Friday morning with the sudden death of a parishioner from a heart attack. The father of three school aged girls, Sean was a faithful Knight of Columbus, basketball coach and all around supporter of our parish and school. The wake and funeral followed, and although difficult, it’s part of the joy and sorrow of being a priest. Then about ten days later the friend who read the lesson at Sean’s funeral also collapsed and died with a sudden heart attack. I was called to be there at the hospital.

This was followed on the Saturday before Palm Sunday by a tragic car accident. One of our church families was on the way to the beach when the camper trailer fishtailed, their vehicle rolled over. Mom was seriously injured and their second grader did not survive. After the rigors of Holy Week came the news of my sister’s death on Easter Day. Easter Week included the viewing, wake and funeral of little Nicholas and plans for a trip to England.

Divine Mercy Sunday was a blessing in the midst of it all, but last week saw a lightning trip to England for my sister’s funeral. Met my brother Don at Philly for the flight across the Atlantic. We met Daryl (our younger brother) at Heathrow, hired a car, drove to Oxford to pick up my wife Alison and daughter Maddy (who is doing a gap year at a boarding school in Oxford) drove to Worcester for the funeral on Tuesday. This was a huge event with a Eucharist celebrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, prayers by the Archbishop of York and a right royal sort of send off for my sister who was married to the Bishop of Worcester.  Then Wednesday a burial in a beautiful country churchyard in Herefordshire. A drive back to Oxford and Heathrow to catch a morning flight home on Thursday. The week was a bundle of high emotion. Great grief at my sister’s death, but gratitude at so many mercies in the manner of her passing.

On arrival back on Thursday evening I had to hit the ground running with school Mass on Friday, preparations for First Holy Communion on Saturday morning, and the full range of Sunday services.

By Monday morning I was seriously running on reserve, went home from the parish early, went to bed and stayed there pretty much until this morning.

I hope therefore that readers of this blog will understand that blogging and other writing has been rather errm…neglected.

Thanks for your patience.