More Than Just Names

23 Jul

“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”
~ Rosa Parks

Each week, in the Pastor’s Page of our Sunday bulletin, I publish a list of names of deacons and priests who have served the faithful of the Diocese of Gary and whose anniversaries of death fall within the present week.  This is a wonderful opportunity for us not only to call to mind the faithful departed and to pray for vocations to the diaconate, religious life, and priesthood; but, also, to remember the people mentioned.

Memories can be very powerful.  For example, this week takes me back to a place and time of my youth.  Msgr. Campagna was a good friend of Msgr. Hildebrandt, the pastor of St. Mary in Griffith.  He would come to the parish quite often to visit with Msgr. Hildebrandt as well as with Fr. Lazar, the pastor of St. James in Highland at that time.

If we came to the rectory while they were together, we would be included in their visit and discussions as if we were all family.  They made any visitor feel welcome.  There openness was exemplified, as well, in the manner in which they celebrated Mass. They touched the lives of many.

Fr. Ameling was another person who touched many lives.  I remember when I was asked to take his place at St. Maria Goretti in Dyer.  I met with him after the bishop asked me to take the assignment.  Fr. Ameling was delighted.  He told me that he had requested that I be his replacement.  He had great confidence in me and in what I would be able to do for “his” parish.  He felt that it was very much his parish, as he was the founding pastor and had been there for seventeen years.

Those two people, in their own ways, marked my life in a manner I would not realize until later.  I often find myself trying to emulate certain things about each of them, just as I am sure they did regarding others in their lives whom they recalled in their own memories.

Throughout the ages, we have been emulating the lives of those who have witnessed to us the love, compassion, peace, and mercy of the Lord.  As we go through life, we can only hope that the way other people will recall us after we are gone will be good, positive memories.  After all, we do what we do in memory of the one who loved us best: Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.

FAITH ACTION:  Recall the people who mattered greatly to you.  Pray that they be at peace and be rewarded for the good they have done in their lives.  Pray, as well, for the grace to positively impact others.