November 19, 2017
Dear Parish Family,
This week we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day; a day to give thanks for all God’s blessings. This year’s holiday follows closely after the death of one of my classmates and it reminds me once again how thankful I am for six of the men who I was ordained with in 1976 that have now died. I want to share a memory or two about each of them as a way of encouraging you to offer thanks to God…and to pray…for those people in your life who have passed yet continue to live on in your thoughts and hearts.
Bob McDade: Bob is the latest classmate to have passed just a little over a week ago. Bob was liked by all. He was quiet and unassuming and simply went about his priestly life with a focused dedication to help all, especially the downtrodden. He had great devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Bob lived with the disease of alcoholism but through AA and his own spirituality he assisted countless men and women to love themselves and to return to and maintain sobriety.
Alex Ortiz: Alex passed away a little over a year ago, having succumbed to cancer. Originating from Brooklyn, New York, he had a booming voice and a laugh larger than life. For many years we referred to him as “Father Love” because of his great interest and involvement in Marriage Encounter. Always optimistic, while he lost his battle to cancer ultimately he won in the end.
Joe Nguyen: Joe was very quiet, hard-working and never had a bad word to say about anyone. Following his brother to this country upon the fall of South Vietnam he made the most of trying to live in a foreign country while realizing that his real home was far away, a place he was prohibited from even visiting. He left the Redemptorists and the priesthood to marry and with his wife had two beautiful girls and settled in Florida. It was while cleaning up a field from debris that he had a heart attack and died instantly.
Joe Nolen: In our days of formation Joe was considered a “late vocation” because he joined the seminary after high school rather than at the beginning of high school. A very intelligent, gifted individual he learned and then taught sign language to other seminarians and later worked with the hearing impaired community. His ministries included the formation of our seminarians, work at Liguori Publications, and parish ministry. He died suddenly when he fell backwards and hit his head on concrete.
Roger Sullivan: Roger had a great love for the traditions of the Catholic Church freely admitting that he was born 100 years too late. Involved primarily in parish ministry he had a great love for our Hispanic brothers and sisters often travel- ling great distances even when we were in the seminary so he could minister to them wherever they needed him.
Steve Meyer: Steve knew and was very devoted to Mother Teresa and her Sisters of Charity. He often served as their chauffeur when they would need assistance in the San Francisco area. He had a true love for the poor and his simplicity and love for them attracted many who others would not have given the time of day. A very friendly yet rather shy individual he was deeply loved by many within and outside the Redemptorists.
Loving God, I thank you for these wonderful men who continue to serve as exemplary examples. I thank all those who have shown me your presence in often simple yet profound ways. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thought for the day: “Which servant of God was the most serious lawbreaker in the Bible? Moses. He broke all ten commandments at once.”
Have a great Thanksgiving Celebration!
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