Pastoral Thought


            As sometimes happens, I traveled a couple of hours to perform a funeral. Mona, at 89, had nine children, twenty grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. She had, in her early thirties, married George, a widower with eight kids. Being a firm believer in God, she recognized and embraced her vocation and even bore George a ninth child (sound familiar JL?). As a full-time mom to nine, she was also the major breadwinner. The family resembled “The Sound of Music”, except that the children couldn’t carry a tune. But they put on great Nativity pageants (the youngest, a girl, had to be Baby Jesus until grandsons arrived). Mona not only was equal to the challenge, she was a game-changer. I don’t think she actually saw all this as something extraordinary.

            The whole family made it to see her during the final weeks of life. And to the funeral. It was a victory celebration. I myself was deeply touched by her children, now in their 50’s and 60’s, with their own grandchildren, as they recalled my time with them at Ss. Peter & Paul grade school and high school in Easton. One, let’s call him Liam, remembered how he had accidentally hit me in the head during a hockey game. He felt bad “because Father Hynes cursed!”

            Mona is only one of “the great cloud of witnesses” whom I have encountered in my life as a priest. As I get older, it gets easier to believe in “the Communion of Saints, the Resurrection of the Body, and Life everlasting.”

            It makes my life seem to me very fortunate, very rich indeed.

Father John Hynes