Thursday, March 12, 2020

Requiem Aeternam

O God, who commanded us to honor father and mother, have mercy in your compassion on my mother, forgive her her sins, and bring me to see her one day in the gladness of eternal glory (Roman Missal).

My mother died a week ago today at age 97. She was hospitalized on Ash Wednesday, and as late as the following Monday we were actively arranging for hospice care at home. but then she underwent severe kidney failure and died on Thursday, March 5. We made plans for her funeral Mass to be celebrated on March 18, but then the coronavirus epidemic intervened.

So, out of an abundance of caution, to reduce the likelihood of spreading infection in particular among those most vulnerable to this serious illness because of age, we have decided to postpone her funeral to a later date, as yet to be determined, when all will be able to participate without anxiety.

I want to express my personal gratitude for the many expressions of prayer for my mother's eternal rest and salvation and of sympathy for  my family in this time of mourning. My mother was blessed with a long and productive life, in which she saw so much of modern history, had so many experiences, and received so many blessings. We give thanks for that life and for all the blessings she experienced in her many years, even as we now commend her to God's great mercy.

When we are able to do so, her funeral Mass will be celebrated in her parish church in California, in the community where she moved after my father died so as to be near her daughter and her grandchildren, and where she experienced a whole new chapter of her life there, filled with new friends and new experiences. Eventually, she will be interred in New York next to my father and my other sister and near her own parents, bringing the story of her long and faithful life to its close. She was the last of her generation, my family’s last link with our Italian immigrant heritage.

May the angels lead her into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome her and take her to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

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