Although my father had stopped attending Mass when it stopped being in Latin, he never stopped saying grace in Latin every night at the dinner table. He had picked up Marxism at Columbia University in the 1950s, but it wasn’t Karl Marx that eroded his faith in the Catholic Church. It was the college girls in mini-skirts distributing Holy Communion at our local parish that led him into agnosticism.
That was 1971, and he did not receive Holy Communion again until 2014. Dad was in the hospital with pneumonia, and a priest chaplain stopped by to offer the Sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist. Dad accepted, and from then on received the sacraments every month at home. I am forever grateful to the hospital chaplain who brought him back to the sacraments, as well as the parish priests who heard his confessions and administered Holy Communion to him over the years.
Mom always said that Dad’s faith was weak because he had never been confirmed. At age 93 Dad agreed to be confirmed by the local parish priest, with Mom as his sponsor. Two years later she died, holding his hand, after 68 years of marriage. Mom died 18 months ago as I was about to begin the 11:30 Sunday Mass, and Dad died yesterday as I was offering that same Mass. What more could Catholic parents ask but that they die as their son is offering the Holy Sacrifice at the Altar? What more could I ask but that my father die a few hours after having received the sacraments from the local parish priest?
Requiescant in pace. Amen.