Deacon Rich served my Parish well for a number of years before moving to another local parish. He continued to serve diligently to the home-bound, to those in the area who were in the hospital, and to the youth. A frequent traveler and chaperon to the various Catholic youth trips, both near and far, the teens loved him.
Last Thursday evening, Deacon Rich suffered a severe heart attack while involved in one of the activities at a youth camp. He did not survive.
According to the autopsy, he had 95% blockage in one of his arteries. His wife said he had never had any symptoms or episodes to indicate there was a problem.
He was 68.
The funeral Mass was beautiful. The Bishop presided, and there were so many other Priests and Deacons there I didn’t bother to count. Deacon was a member of the Knights of Columbus, and the Knights had wonderful presence at the Mass as well. As a veteran of the Navy, the Honor Guard was also present.
Deacon Rich, you will be missed. Our loss is heaven’s gain. But, per your own wishes as expressed to your Priest after many funerals, we make no assumptions on your current whereabouts, and so we will pray for you. While we don’t know how long it will take, or what that even really means in human terms of space and time, I for one am confident of your final destination.
Always be ready. The sudden and unexpected passing of anyone serves as an important reminder to all of us.
Rest in peace, Deacon.
As an add-on, today, I’m sharing a “Prayer for the Pope,” courtesy of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. I keep this handy and include it often in my daily prayers:
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon Thy servant, Francis, our Supreme Pontiff, and direct him, according to Thy loving kindness, in the ways of eternal salvation; that, of Thy gift, he may ever desire that which is pleasing unto Thee and may accomplish it with all his might. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.