I’m a Catholic music minister, and I’m wearing gray as I stand at the front of the church and sing the opening notes of the entrance song.  A gentleman from the funeral home leads pallbearers with the casket down the aisle, and following them are a group of tearful mourners, wearing black and clinging to... Continue Reading →


My friend Deacon Jerry came to mass today and that doesn’t seem all that weird except for the fact that he died a couple of weeks ago. During the Eucharistic prayers, several of my friends who art in Heaven gather around the altar and I acknowledge them there and pray for their families and their... Continue Reading →


On Wednesday, I sang at the funeral for Arlene, a longtime member of our community. I watched with awe as the flowers came in, one huge arrangement after another. Made of coordinated fall colors, they were perfect for Thanksgiving and I thought to myself: in their grief, this family is giving their beloved chapel a... Continue Reading →


Attending the funeral of someone who lived life well is like completing a masters-level course in an hour and a half. Lesson after lesson flies at you and you can’t quite catch each one, but you want to hold on to all of it if you can. I attended a funeral like this today for... Continue Reading →


“You have no control who lives, who dies, who tells your story… “ Hamilton Yesterday, I embarrassed my daughter in the checkout line of the grocery store in which she works, and I left there thinking surely, here is yet another story to tell at my funeral. This is not a rare occurrence. Through the... Continue Reading →


“Not everything is a metaphor, Mom…not everything has to mean something,” my sixteen year old daughter says sometimes when I look too deeply at some small thing. And, I get it. Mothers can be annoying, and our quirky habits can be fodder for teasing and the very best eulogies. My ability to find a metaphor... Continue Reading →


My Dad and his brother Franny are part of a generation, or maybe just a neighborhood, that is all about honor. Doing the right thing when no one is watching and paying respect are lost arts these days, but it’s part of how they grew up in South Boston in the 1950s and '60s. It’s... Continue Reading →

A Wake

When I was a kid, my Dad was always going to wakes. With a stressful day job, three-and-then-four baby girls at home, two sick parents, and an overall busy life, he would frequently drive an hour to attend a wake for five minutes and then drive home. I never understood all of the effort, until... Continue Reading →

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