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Passing the torch: from one generation to the next

This year the first few weeks of Lent have been a sad journey for many families in our parish as we have had five parish-ioners die since Ash Wednesday.

Posted on March 4, 2018


Last Saturday, as we had just finished celebrating the funeral Mass for Marylou Dunham, I re-ceived a phone call from my sister Cathy. She was calling to tell me that my aunt Marie Wetmore had died. Aunt Marie, MiMi as we called her, was my mother's youngest sister; she was 91. She had had a fall recently and had broken her leg. They operated on the leg and she came though the operation okay and returned from the hospital to the nursing home in Rochester where she was living this past year. I was thankful that I had stopped to visit her went I was in Rochester for a meeting on Shrove Tuesday. We had a good visit and she was her cheerful self and we spent time sharing news and memories about the family. As she laid in bed she reminded me so much of her morn, my grandmother, who pasted away in 1993. My Grandmother was the last of her genera-tion in our family to die, and the realization came to me that when Mi Mi passes away she will be the last of her generation in our family as well. As I was leaving I couldn't help but think that I might not see her again; she looked so frail.
When I did receive the news from my sister Cathy that she had died, one of my first comments to her was, "well Sharon is now the "Elder". Cathy then told me that my sister Sharon had just said the same thing to her five minutes before when Cathy had called her with the news of my Aunt MiMi's death. When my Dad died I had begun saying to Sharon "well you are the Elder now of the Moorby family." With my Aunt Marie's passing Sharon is now the "Elder" in the Clarke family, my mother's family, as well! I do kid my sister about being the Elder, but I realize that for our family all of my siblings, and my first cousins are now the oldest genera-tion! The torch has passed to us!

My parents' generation were children during the Great Depression, they were a part of the WWII generation. They had to make great sacrifices for their families and their country. They gave birth to the baby-boomer generation. I was truly privileged to have known all of my family members from their generation. I thank God for the many blessings my generation received from them. Above all I thank them for their witness of faith, and the example of fidelity and commitment that they have shown to their spouses and families The season of Lent calls us to reflect on the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ. Through the trials and sacrifices, joys and triumphs their generation experienced, in many ways they lived out the Paschal Mystery, dying and rising with Christ. I pray that they are now experiencing the glory of the resurrection!
As I said in my family the torch has passed to us! My generation is the generation of the 50"s, and 60's. Our time of war was Vietnam. In our youth we lived through the turbulent times of the assassinations of President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Lu-ther King Jr., and Bobby Kennedy; years of much political and social unrest and change. Changes in church took place with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. Changes in government took place with President Nixon resigning after the Watergate scandal and cover-up. As a generation we lived through our moments of dying, but we also experienced the moments of rising as so many more of our generation had the opportunities for education that many in our parents' generation did not have. Our parents always wanted us to have more than they had whether it be in education or in financial success. And for most in my generation we have obtained that. But, I believe that in the end the final judgment of how well any generation passes on the torch to the next comes from the teaching of St. Paul, "In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is
love." (1 Cor.l3:13l I know my parents' generation passed on those virtues to me. No matter what generation we are a part of whether it be the Baby-boomers, Generation X, the Millenials, or Gen Z, may we all strive to pass on the virtues of faith, hope and love to those who follow us.

God bless you,

Father Bill

Words from our Pastor

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