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On New Year’s Eve, in the morning, we celebrated a funeral Mass for Arpad.

Arpad collapsed  several weeks before in one of our St. Vincent De Paul shops.  Sadly, despite all efforts to save him, he died.

A member of the St. Vincent De Paul Society followed up the situation.  It was discovered that the man had no known family or next of kin.

The Vinnies decided that this man, who had come into their shop looking for help, would be looked after, even in death.

Hence, the Requiem Mass organised by Vinnies.

I celebrated the funeral as pastor of the diocese for a member of our family.

There was no blood family present.  However, about a dozen men and women from the St. Vincent De Paul family were actively present at the funeral.

It happed to have been Arpad’s birthday.  It was also the last day of the year.  Arpad’s church family on earth celebrated his resurrection into new life, and into the communion of Saints in heaven.,

It was a wonderful experience for us all. 

It was a good news story of love.

That night I celebrated a Mass ushering in the new year with another group of good people.

It was a longish Mass with lots of reflections.

Again, I felt the presence of the Lord as I had done that morning.

Some of the things mentioned in that Mass have also stayed with me.

As I reflected on both these events, as indeed on other events, I want to give thanks to God for the gift of our church family.

There are many parts, yet one body.  So many vocations, so many different ways of expressing the same Gospel and the same Good News of Jesus Christ.

The Word of God made flesh, Jesus among us, calls us to live lives fully as He reaches out to us through each other.

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