As our parish is predominantly populated with young families and children funerals are more rare here than in most parishes. However, lately we have seen several of our longtime parishioners seriously ill and in hospital.
Last weekend we had a funeral for Kathleen Mercer who had died on Saturday September 5th following a long battle with cancer. Kathleen, and her husband Joe, were well known in the parish and she was always involved with the parish bazaar and frequently attended weekday Mass as well as being regular Sunday Mass goers. Her well attended funeral Mass was held on Saturday September 12 where she, along with all those who have died believing that this world’s end and purpose is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ, was commended to life with Him forever.
This past Tuesday evening Mr. Eugene (Owen) McCanny died at the age of 92. Parishioners would remember Owen as a tall, elderly man who walked to Mass using a cane and in seeing him walk a little dog each day – the dog following behind Owen’s steady and determined pace as they traversed the sidewalks around Watford Street. If anyone was ready for heaven it was Owen. Owen, a tall and sturdy man, was hard of hearing and had never really ‘heard’ of some of the changes in the liturgy with the New Roman Missal these past four years. Whilst the congregation of Sunday or weekday Mass-goers were responding with “and with your Spirit”, Owen was still heard saying “and also with you”. We will all miss Owen and his abiding presence among us. He was a man of prayer and to the end would say his night and morning prayers on his knees. He was also a regular at the weekly Holy Hour, praying his Rosary and communing with the Lord as he knelt in his presence. We pray he will now hear clearly the Lord’s voice calling him to life with him forever.
Several other parishioners have been seriously ill for some time now. Minda Figuracion, who has been actively involved in various ministries in the parish and who, along with her husband Ernie, have had a deep devotion to St. Faustina and the Divine Mercies, has been battling cancer over the last few years and has now been hospitalized. She is a woman of great faith and is always still cheerful when you talk about the Lord with her. Minda has been an active member of the Ministry to the Sick and Homebound, taking Communion to several parish homes and the residence at the Court at Brooklin from the 9 am. Mass. She has also served on the Baptism Team for a number of years.
Eleanor Tomas has been sick and is now hospitalized as well. Eleanor and her husband, Dr. John Tomas, have been well known in the parish and have usually occupied the left rear pew each Saturday evening at the 5 pm. Mass, joined by Eleanor’s mother, Mrs. Stella Latawiec. Eleanor convened the annual Parish Bazaar for several years and was so active in working toward the raising of funds for this parish. Eleanor has joked often with visitors to the hospital from the parish about her funeral lunch reception which is to have “nice, thick sandwiches” and not those thin ones you see some people make. She has a wonderful sense of humour and a great faith.
Ken Wesley, husband of Margaret Wesley, has also suffered for many years from breathing and many other health challenges. His wife, Margaret, has been a steadfast caregiver to her husband and has still managed to stay actively involved in parish life and the various activities of the Catholic Women’s League. When so many could and would complain about their lot in life she doesn’t – she just puts one foot in front of the other and lives, giving so much along the way. She and so many others like her find warm friendship among those who busy themselves for the good of others.
Along with these are so many others who have been sick for many years and have suffered declining health. There are too many to mention here but they are all an integral part of the faith community of St. Leo the Great. They need our prayers.
We will devote a space in our upcoming parish bulletins naming those who desire our prayers on their behalf. Personally, I have always been pleasantly surprised when someone has told me that they pray for me every day. We have no idea what amount of good and grace they are for us and it is a tremendous sign of our privilege to belong to a community of believers who care for and pray for one another. (Fr. Charles)
“The sick are to realise that they are sons of God by the very fact that the scourge of discipline chastises them.
For unless it were his plan to give them an inheritance after their chastisements, he would not trouble to school them in afflictions.” (Pope St. Gregory I)