Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

I will miss you dear friend.

"Nobody is a Christian for oneself alone. The gift of faith is given to us so that by word and example we may become witnesses before others." Pope John Paul II

In my opinion Marjorie Riopelle exemplified what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. She never missed an opportunity to share her Catholic Faith, and always did so with a joyful heart. And her joy was contagious. I thank God that I was blessed to have had Marjorie as a friend for almost 40 years. I will miss you dear friend.

Yesterday on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe  I attended her  funeral at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Ottawa. Father Bob Wild, Marjorie's Spiritual Director for many years gave a wonderful homily at the link below. May Marjorie's soul and all the souls of the Faithful departed, through the Mercy of God Rest in Peace Amen


Transcript of Fr. Wild's homily
Dear daughters and sons  of both Marjorie’s families, and relatives and friends, parishioners  of St. Mary’s, and Fr. Sean of the Companions that Marjorie loved so much,
I’ve had the privilege of accompanying Marjorie in her life with the Lord for over 45 years. We often spoke on the phone, and I visited her a number of times at her home. Every once in while we spoke about her funeral Mass and her wish that I celebrate it. I’m only a few years younger than Marjorie was, so I didn’t know if I would be here or not. At my age I`m not only glad to be here but glad to be anywhere.
Besides asking me to celebrate this Mass she also made the point that she didn`t want me to talk too much about herself but about the Lord. I`ve been trying to figure out a way to get around this request! So what I`ve come up with is this: to talk about things in her life with the Lord, and give glory to the Lord for them. This desire was very much in Marjorie’s heart as she chose for the first reading this morning the beautiful hymn from Daniel. Each phrase concludes with “ praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.” That’s my intention as  I relates some of Marjorie’s graces—to give glory to God for them
 Secondly, I’d like us to see these graces as a confirmation that the Lord will be faithful now in keeping his promises to her. My we be filled with the firm hope that she is now in the arms of Infinite Love.
So, besides giving thanks this morning for Marjorie’s life and the place she had in our lives, I invite you to grow in your own faith in the resurrection. 
To increase our faith that Marjorie will receive the Lord`s promises, listen again to what St. Paul wrote to the Romans in the second reading Marjorie chose:  Brothers and sisters:
Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life.
And a reminder what Paul wrote to the Thessalonians:  “We do not want you to be unaware about those who have died, so that you may not grieve like the rest who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have died.” In this letter Paul is in no doubt about those who have died in the Lord. This is not presumption but faith.
And in the gospel that Marjorie chose, you just heard the Lord say:  I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
How many thousands of times has Marjorie eaten this living bread! She had a great love for the Mass and in her later years was sorry she could not always get to Mass. A few months ago I visited with Marjorie and Ruth and brought her Communion. She was so glad to receive it. We should trust absolutely that this promise  of the Lord’s “whoever eats this bread will live forever,” will be fulfilled in her.
The Lord said what we do for one another we do to him, and we will not lose our reward.  How many times did Marjorie open her home for people to stay?  “I was in need of a place to stay, and you welcomed me.” In her later years I had to often remind her that she wasn’t as young as she used to be! so she might not be able to take in people any more.  But her heart was always ready to do so. We can trust that she will not lose her reward.
She was very generous with helping people in a monetary way. Some of you here may have been recipients of such generosity. You all have your own experiences of this.
One of my memories of her generosity was when I was stationed in England and got a call from her. In the course of the conversation she said, “Would you like to go to Padre Pio’s canonization?  I’ll pay for it.”  I thought for about 5 seconds and said, ‘OK, alright. Thanks so much!
When Jesus came after the death of Lazarus he said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” I can testify to Marjorie’s faith and love for Jesus. I trust absolutely that his promise in her will be fulfilled.
 I remember reading in Pope Benedict’s encyclical on hope a very, very encouraging opinion about people when they die that I’d like to share with you this morning.
He said that the majority of people are neither entirely bad or entirely good. Marjorie would agree that she was not entirely good! Most of us, like her,  are in between those two extremes.  That means, Pope Benedict said, that the majority of people when they die have some love in their hearts, some desire for truth and beauty and goodness.  After death, when they experience God’s love for them, this goodness in their hearts will be purified and they will enter into his loving embrace.  Again, I can testify to this love in Marjorie’s heart up to her last days.
I’d like to close with an experience I had in the Holy Land, and apply it to Marjorie.
I went to visit the tomb of Lazarus in Bethany.  I had to smile, at the entrance there was a sign, “Open all day.”  It’s been open for 2, 200 years! You go down a flight of stairs and come to an enclosure with a stone slab. Presumable the body was placed there. As I sat down on a chair the lights went out! I let out a little cry, but then remembered the sign. They probably didn’t see me go in.
I decided to stay there and meditate on what happened there.  I imagined myself on that slab, and then hearing, ever so faintly, the voice of Jesus calling me: “Robert, come out!” I imagined myself struggling to get up and walking towards the stone entrance, and the stone being taken away, and seeing Jesus there.
My dear friends, that is what is happening now. Jesus is calling Marjorie by name, “Marjorie, come to me!”  And nothing in the whole universe can prevent her from entering the arms of his Love.