I asked for your prayers for Joseph last week. Thank you for those prayers. I had the grace to attend his funeral out of town in Kansas City last Monday.
Canon Gardner of our beloved Institute celebrated a solemn requiem Mass. He made several remarks in his sermon on Joseph’s final days and how well he embraced the few months he was expected to live. Once he asked all of us, especially our children, to pray for his specific intention; for the remission of his sins so he may have reduced time in Purgatory. They also started another prayer request, asking for Bl. Karl of Austria’s intention to cure an inoperable cancer. God opted not to say yes to this latter prayer but from what we were able to gather, He did not turn down the former. He had about two months of considerable discomfort and other sufferings and was granted the grace to die with all the necessary Sacraments in their Traditional form and the Apostolic Blessing near his passing.
Although I have attended the All Soul’s Mass numerous times in its Classical rite, it has always been in the “presence” of the catafalque. Until last Monday, I had never attended a (for lack of a better word) “live” Solemn Requiem. Along with that, I also attended his burial. Someone more traditionally-savvy will need to tell me if it is typical to take a handful of dirt at the burial site and toss it on the lowered casket. Of the entire event, that was by far the most moving and also the biggest reality check. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF.US. will be there at some point in the future. Maybe next week, maybe next year, maybe next century. It was a very clear and very cold reminder to always be ready for that dreadful day.
There was a beautiful burial plot prepared. It was a few feet from his saintly granddaughter who died shortly after birth some time ago. She had the grace of Baptism between her birth and passing. The gravestone for her said “The little Catholic.” This was another good reminder to always be ready for an emergency Baptism hen our wives are giving birth. Limbo still exists, y’all.
One final remark. In Joseph’s obituary it said the following:
“Fac recte, nec time” is the phrase on a plaque hanging in Joe’s library. It is a Latin phrase meaning “Do right, fear nothing.” There is no more concise phrase that better encapsulates Joe’s approach to life; it was his code. He valued right principle over opinion, stating often that “opinion is worth nothing unless it conforms to reality.” He was unwaveringly adherent to the truths of the Catholic Faith and endeavored to apply principles first. He always took his responsibilities seriously and will always be remembered by his family, friends, and colleagues as a staunch leader who never gave quarter; always fighting to the very end. All his life he truly held to Josue’s maxim: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Pie Jesu Domine, Dona eis requiem. Amen
God rest his soul.