Wednesday, May 31, 2023


By Tim Rohr

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post titled HELPING TOM BURY MARY and wherein I set out some of the challenges my non-Catholic cousin was having procuring a Catholic funeral and burial for his Catholic sister. 

The issue in short was: while my cousin's "church" had a dedicated ministry to burying their dead at no cost to the dead or the bereaved, his sister's Catholic parish had a rather daunting price list of services.

My cousin, knowing I'm Catholic, contacted me for help and I agreed to meet with the pastor to discuss the matter and today was the day I met with him (the pastor).  

The pastor was an African, as a lot of them are in this area (I'm presently off-island). He had just returned from a few weeks away and I was his first appointment. I was quite sure that he hadn't time yet to check his schedule as he seemed a bit surprised to see me.

I was immediately impressed. 

The first thing Father did after asking my name and sitting down in his office was to launch into about a two minute prayer invoking the blessing of St. Timothy upon me and ending with a Hail Mary. I sort of wondered if he was testing my Catholicism when he went into the Hail Mary, so I prayed it audibly along with him. 

He seemed assured.

I thanked him for the prayer and told him I appreciated a priest who prayed. 

Bottom line is that after I told him of my cousin's challenges with trying to get his sister buried pursuant to her wishes for a Catholic funeral and burial and the charges my cousin was quoted, the pastor was perplexed, maybe even a little angry. He said "I'm going to have to talk to my staff. This is not the Church I belong to." (Referencing the prices quoted my cousin by the parish secretary.)

So no charge for anything, not the use of the church (and it's a church that is as large as the Agana Cathedral), not the utilities, not the priest, and not the services of a priest or deacon at the interment/burial at a cemetery at least 30 minutes away. 

Thank you, Father. 

Meanwhile, we intend to make a donation of all we can. 

P.S. As I was waiting for Father, I was thumbing through some documents I had re my deceased cousin and sort of rustling through my many memories of her, even though most of those memories were from many years ago. Then, near the top of one of the papers I noted her birthday. It was today, May 30, 1951. 

I won't say "Happy Birthday in heaven, Mary," because, as Catholics, we believe that only God can know that. But, as Catholics, what we do believe is that a proper Catholic funeral and burial will help her get there just in case she isn't there "yet." So I'm glad that's what she'll get. Finally. 

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