Bad news tonight. Just got off the phone from Oklahoma. Fr. Shane Ian Tharp, a priest of Jesus Christ and a dear friend has died of what I’m told was a massive heart attack (though the autopsy is today, so that may change). He was in Wichita and, as it happened, was visiting his spiritual director. He died in hospital, having received anointing and apostolic pardon from his spiritual director, who was with him when he collapsed, just about the happiest possible death I can imagine for him.
Fr. Shane was a friend for 13 years. He was funny, witty, and above all a serious disciple of Jesus. I spoke to him just a few days ago (He wanted me to come out and speak at his parish in December. No idea what will happen on that front now. It’s weird how your mind races to stupid stuff like that when you are in shock.)
His family is, of course, in need of our prayers, as is his parish. Please offer intercession for him as he completes his earthly pilgrimage. As it happens, I have been watching 90 Minutes in Heaven, about a near death experience by a Baptist pastor who, unlike Fr. Shane, did not get to stay and who therefore spent months mourning the loss of heaven and having to stay on earth.
As I sit here in shock and felt grief well up, I suddenly had it occur to me what I have been sitting here watching for a couple of hours. It almost felt like a friendly dope slap from Fr. Shane. He died in Christ.
All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.
But Jesus wept too. So will I.
Goodbye, Fr. Shane it was an honor to know you. I will pray for you and I ask you to pray for me. You are a priest forever, bub. You don’t get off the hook that easy.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.