Recently I saw a mother in mourning; her loving hand caressed the body of her lifeless son; her tears fell on his cheeks as the color faded away from his skin. Others looked on in sorrow, praying with heart-broken sighs, wanting to be helpful but feeling completely useless. It was a painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary cradling the broken body of Jesus after he was taken down from the Cross: a pieta with a universal message but also one specifically for you, Barbara, Michael, Marcella, Anna Maria, Lena, and Lorenzo: Our Lady knows your suffering and Our Lord Jesus Christ is always with you, even in death.
I think of all the tragedies we have experienced here at St Gertrude’s: fathers who lost battles with illness, mothers whose passing left grief in their wake, a beloved teacher, infants, high schoolers, and now Salvatore Rose. Ordinarily in funeral homilies I think it is best not to talk too much about the deceased; that is better suited for words of remembrance at other times. In this case, however, I believe the life and death of Sal has much to teach us about our Catholic faith.