There were three moments this week of celebrating parental influences in people that I know, love and respect. This morning I celebrated the funeral liturgy for Margaret Venick, my maternal aunt and godmother. She was buried from Saint Mary of the Nativity Church in Uniontown, my home town. Father Steve Bugay is the pastor, and I thank him for his graciousness.
Aunt Margaret was the fourth of five daughters born of Frank and Mary Lenard (my mom was second in line). She had married Daniel Venick, and they gave life to two children - Jerome and Barb - and have four grandchildren and now three great grandchildren, two of whom are newborns. Aunt Margaret was probably the most socially active of the five sisters, always on the go to organizations and clubs and involvement in local politics. Life dealt her a terrible hand in these last few years with failing eyesight and hearing as well as the onset of dementia. Her last months were in a personal care home. I shared Romans 8:31 where it asks "What will separate us from the love of Christ?" The answer is nothing ... including the challenges that Aunt Margaret had to deal with.
I also pointed out that she had a great love of her children and grandchildren, and saw them as her life and legacy. Their successes brought her great joy. She shared with them her values and her faith, and was generous in her love. We were not only family, but also neighbors, living four houses apart from each other on the same street. I am grateful for the love that she gave to me as her godson. May she rest in peace.
Aunt Margaret was the last of my aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. As someone today pointed out ... we are now the senior generation. Scarry!
On Tuesday I concelebrated the funeral of a former parishioner and a friend from All Saints in Masontown - Dorothy Rohol. Dorothy and her husband had a son and a daughter, and that daughter, Linda, is the parish secretary at All Saints (through seven pastors!). It was a joy to help celebrate the life and accomplishments of this good woman of faith, especially as it is exemplified in her children. Linda has many of her mom's traits, and readily acknowledges the influence of her mom in her life. It is obviously true.
Father John Butler is pastor at All Saints and spoke of that day being described as a passover experience - the limitations of this earthly existence and the sufferings and limitations that Dorothy endured before her death have given way to the bright promise of immortality and the never ending joy of heaven. Father Jim Bump, another of the former pastors that Linda has served, joined John and me in thanking God for the gift of Dorothy whose gift to Linda was a gift to us. May she rest in peace.
And also today, this afternoon at Saint Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Kittanning, Pennsylvania, George Swast, the father of one of our priest by the same name, George, who is no longer in active ministry in the Church, was buried. George was a good friend and priest, and the influence and prayers of the mother and father of a priest is a valuable blessing. Because of my Aunt's funeral, I could not be in attendance (a number of the guys were, though) but I assure George of my thoughts and prayers for his dad. May he rest in peace.