Notes I wrote to myself then lost, then found when looking under the cushions of my couch for money to buy a do it yourself acupuncture kit...
It was not a good week around the world. I had the funeral of Peggy Taylor on Tuesday. Long time parishioner. Peggy's family had to think long and hard about having their Mom's funeral because Peggy was the Grandma of Nicholas (12) and Dylan (7) Taylor, the two young boys who died in the house fire on Sorrell Street in the Marshall-Shadeland area of Pittsburgh on Monday. Without their brother Raymond and his wife Jennifer present, siblings Renee, Michelle and David mourned their Mom's death along with family and friends. Everyone has the right to mourn the death of the person who gave them birth but Ray will not have the chance to do that for months to come. Jennifer leaped from their home with their six year old son to escape death and as of this writing on Tuesday afternoon are in Mercy Hospital. The prayers and consolation of not only our parish but the City of Pittsburgh goes out to the whole Taylor family.
There was just a great article in last Saturday's Post Gazette about the final day at the office and retirement of Dr. George McCollum of our parish. With an office on Beltzhoover Ave. for years, the Doc was one of the last people to make house calls and be available to “The least of Jesus' brothers and sisters.” In his 80's, he finally hung it up, and we are the lesser for it. As a parishioner of St. Justin the Doc would help us out at our Pro Wrestling Matches which we had as a fund raiser. The state of Pennsylvania required a physician on site and the Doc would be there yearly for us, gratis of course. He'd be sitting in the bleachers at the gym in Sullivan Hall reading his New York Times while pros like Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka, Virgil, and Koko Beware graced our parish. He and his wife Janice and family have blessed our parish with their kids and grandkids for years. Ad Multos Annos Doc.
This past Monday was the Pittsburgh Priest Golf Tournament. For the past fifteen years two of my friends and I have run this, originally in honor of Fr. Ray Froehlich, your former assistant from 1972-1977, and the brother I never had. Ray died in 1997 from pancreatic cancer at the age of 55, and the three of us decided to honor Ray and other good priests by starting the Pittsburgh Priests Memorial Golf Tournament. Before dinner we have night prayer and mention the names of all the priests who have died. Guys would just say their names aloud from table to table. Now these are guys who have been drinking for a while. At the end of night prayer the custom among priests is to close with the Marian hymn “Salve Regina,” which is usually sung at the end of a priest's funeral. It always amazes me to see the look on the wait staff’s faces when they hear us sing this hymn so solemnly after this litany of names. “Aren't these the same drunks we've been serving for the last hour?” seems to be the look on their faces. “Now they all look and sound like Francis of Assisi.” Well, all things change and my buds and I gave it up this year and three younger guys took the tournament over. But the night prayer and litany and song continued. And so did the look on the wait staff’s faces. When the litany of names was proceeding, I heard those names and thought “Not one was a child molester or an abuser. All they did was visit homes and hospitals, comfort the dying and console the saddened. Lifted up the spirits of the lowly. They never made the newspapers. Thanks guys. It's an honor to be a Pittsburgh Priest.
Four deacons-priests to be-shot nine under to win the thing. Guys, we don't care if you hoovered the event and took all the prizes as long as you get ordained. But remember this: If you shoot in the 100's you neglect your golf game, but if you shoot in the 80's you neglect your parish.