I would be remiss if I didn't note the passing of an extraordinary Catholic priest, Gerry Clenahan who died in Ireland September 20, 2011 at age 89. I just learned of his death. Born in Ireland he joined the Oblate Order and was ordained June 29, 1947 as a priest. He assisted the Oblates of St George Canada in establishing Catholic schools there. Later he went to Alaska to act as pastor at villages where he often traveled by boat to reach them. For the next 19 years he worked in the Archdiocese of Seattle where he made friends with hundreds of people in the parishes where he worked. His warm demeanor, forgiving heart and big smile made him a favorite of everyone he came into contact with. He "retired" in 2001 but led people on tours in Europe plus served as chaplain on cruise ships. Finally, he did retire and return to Ireland the land of his birth.
Everyone who knew him was his friend. He was the classic image of what a priest should be like. Holy, devoted and yet totally open to all including those who were not Catholic. Tolerate of everyone of good faith he was an model for ecumenical work. My dad didn't go to church even though baptised in Italy where he was born. But, dad and Fr. Gerry were friends. Dad asked him if when he died if he would allow a Mason ceremony as part of his funeral service since Dad had been a Mason over 50 years. When Dad died that's what happened as part of the funeral Mass and service at the cemetery. I'm sure Gerry broke a lot of rules, but he made many friends and gained admirers for doing it. Count me as one of them. God rest the soul of this good man.