First of all, we would like to thank Fr. Fitzgerald, Bishop Whalen, Bishop Byrne, and Bishop Bonnici, all our wonderful priests and deacons, and all our Sr. Barnabas family who have been with us in good times and in bad, throughout our whole lives.
We would also like to thank our families and everyone who has supported us with prayers and friendship during this terribly difficult time. So many people loved Luke, and we have been uplifted by everyone who shared that love with us. We would also like to share with you a small measure of our tremendous love for Luke.
We all know that Luke’s addiction was a terrible Cross to bear, for him and for all of us. It led him to do and to experience things that we all wish had never happened. But that awful disease was something Luke had. It is not who he really was.
Luke was a very spiritual man, in his own unique way. He believed in his Higher Power (as they say in the 12-step rooms), and that he was under divine protection. There is no question that he very definitely was. His guardian angel and patron saints worked overtime.
St. James wrote that we show our faith by our works. Luke did that by the love he gave to others.
Even with all his struggles, his basic loving nature never changed. He was generous to a fault. He loved making and giving gifts. He loved going to West Virginia every summer with the PV Volunteers and working hard to make other people’s lives better. He had a special love for little children. He loved his music, he loved to laugh, and he loved sharing with others the things that made him happy. We had a lot of laughs with him.
And because he knew what it was like to suffer, he had a soft spot for others who were having a hard time. If you were in trouble, he would do anything for you. Just last week he met a man who had just come out of prison and had nothing but the clothes on his back. Luke, without hesitation, opened his bag and gave the man some of his clothes. That’s Luke in a nutshell. The Good Samaritan.
As we heard in the reading today from St. Paul’s letter to Timothy, Luke fought the good fight. He ran the race. It was a really hard race. He fell down a lot. But he kept on fighting. He never gave up on himself. Neither did we. Neither did God. Luke kept striving forwards to a goal of peace and healing and happiness.
Well, Luke has finished his race.
And now, we hope and believe that he has finally found the peace that eluded him here. We hope and believe that he is in the loving arms of Jesus and Mary. We hope and believe that he is in the company of his friends who preceded him. And we believe he is with his two grandmothers, whom he loved and who loved him dearly.
We loved Luke in this life. We miss him terribly. But we hope that someday, we will be united with him again, and we can all rejoice together in the loving presence of God forever.
Thank you all, and please remember Luke and us in your prayers.