“You will be ever young” at the start of COVID, I visited Helen, a woman who had been a daily communicant, daily Mass sacristan, twice a week food pantry volunteer, and an active parish council attendee at St Cecilia’s. She was not very sick, and she had just gotten out of another extended stay in the hospital and rehabilitation center. She was physically weak, tired, hard of hearing, and her health was in decline. I came by expecting that with her condition, she would not be in the best of moods and would most likely would not want to speak long. To my surprise, once her home aid woke her up, she came alive. She was the same joyful, talkative, and, most of all, funny conversationalist she had always been. Normally on sick calls, I have to lead the conversation and find topics to discuss (which can be very draining). She not only led the conversations but swept me off of my feet with her humor, joy, faith, and trust in the Lord. She did not complain much and only had words of gratefulness about her home aid and her son Ed who took care of her. It was beautiful to behold.
I did not know this would be my last visit with Helen. She had health problems most of the time I knew her, but she always overcame them, and as soon as she could, she returned to Mass and to serve in the food pantry. Our Lord had other plans for her this time. It was so unexpected, even for a woman in her 90s, she was so young, so funny, and so full of life. I could barely believe it when I received the news of her passing. Yet she was always prepared to meet the Lord. Her life was a constant song of praise, a hymn of love to God, family, friends, and the poor. I only pray that others will now step into her shoes and continue to do the work of the Lord in this small part of God’s garden.
Your Brother and Father in Christ,
Fr. Scott Woods