I heard sad news earlier this evening. Ger Regan died. May he rest in peace. Ger is a few years younger than myself and I’ve known him for more than thirty years. In recent weeks he had been unwell but I hadn’t foreseen his death. I spoke with him last Friday evening, before going on holidays, and we talked about “catching up” when I’d get back. I can’t fully take in the reality that will not now happen.
I read that Gospel passage on Sunday about not knowing the day or hour. I believed it as I read it but it doesn’t always sink in. When you say goodbye to someone that you think you’ll see again and that turns out not to be the case, it’s a soul searching moment.
Earlier today I took a photo of the Year of Mercy Door in St Agnes’ Cathedral. At that stage I’d known that Ger had taken a turn for the worse but in taking the photo I was very much thinking of him. He was hugely influential in the designing of the Door of Mercy in our own cathedral in Ballaghderreen and took great pride in it and the little prayer space that he helped set up at the back of the Cathedral. He had taken a huge interest in banners and trying to focus people’s attention on the year that’s in it.
The door is wide open, draped in colours of welcome and allows access to a Holy Place. As I took the photo, I thought of Ger and hoped that the Eternal Door would be opened to him. I prayed that it would and, as the news settles in my heart now, I have a feeling that he is indeed home and safe. No more worries or wondering, the Lord will set his mind and heart to rest and enfold him in His lasting peace.
I will be thinking of his mother, family and friends in the coming days and will visit his grave in Kilcolman as soon as I can.
Never take a goodbye for granted …
POPE FRANCIS’ PRAYER FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY
Lord Jesus Christ,
you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,
and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.
Show us your face and we will be saved.
Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew from being enslaved by money;
the adulteress and Magdalene from seeking happiness only in created things;
made Peter weep after his betrayal,
and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.
Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us, the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:
“If you knew the gift of God!”
You are the visible face of the invisible Father,
of the God who manifests his power above all by forgiveness and mercy:
let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.
You willed that your ministers would also be clothed in weakness
in order that they may feel compassion for those in ignorance and error:
let everyone who approaches them feel sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.
Send your Spirit and consecrate every one of us with its anointing,
so that the Jubilee of Mercy may be a year of grace from the Lord,
and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm, may bring good news to the poor,
proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,
and restore sight to the blind.
We ask this through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,
you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever.