May 28, 2015
VIGIL SERVICE HOMILY
FOR FR. BERNIE HAYES, CR
May 15, 2015
WRITTEN AND PRESENTED BY THE VERY REV. MURRAY MCDERMOTT, CR
FOR GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO BE ITS JUDGE, BUT TO BE ITS SAVIOR. Jn. 3: 17
How do we dare to live the Dream of God as it is written upon our hearts through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We begin to live out the dream of God by allowing the Scriptures to touch our hearts and influence our lives. God’s Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. God’s Word seeks to take new flesh in our lives today, tomorrow and each and every day of our lives.
In Parish France on Feb. 17, 1836, a group of men under the leadership of a layman by the name of Bogdan Janski sought to live out the Dream of God by forming community which would eventually become known as the Congregation of the Resurrection. On Easter Sunday, March 27, 1842, Peter Semenenko, Jerome Kajiewicz, along with five other clerics, professed their first Religious vows in the Catacombs of St. Sebastian in Rome. The Vision and Dream of these men was to dedicate themselves to the Risen Savior and call themselves, “Brothers of the Resurrection”.
It was the Vision and Dream of our founding and elder brothers in the Congregation of the Resurrection that drew Fr. Bernie to join our Resurrectionist Community. As his elders brothers had held high the Vision that they could bring Hope to the God’s World, Hope to the poor, the sick, the suffering, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, the rejected, the ostracized, the lonely, the alienated, the guilt ridden, the confused, the lost; Fr. Bernie continued to hold high the banner of Hope and would speak words of peace, comfort, consolation and encouragement to those to whom he encountered through his various ministries. As our elder Resurrectionist brothers of past times, Dreamt the Dream of bringing about the Resurrection of Society by bringing about a world of more peace, more justice, more fairness, more kindness, more tolerance, more acceptance, more mercy and more compassion; Fr. Bernie sought to change the world and society as best he could one heart at a time.
Fr. Bernie believed that as a Resurrectionist, when the people of God laugh with the joys and blessings of life, that we as Resurrectionists need to be there with them to sing their songs, dance the dances and laugh their laughs. And how he laughed. Fr. Bernie’s laughter would thunder from the depths of his soul and would light the room no matter what the size. Bernie’s laughter was warm and engaging and full of fun. Fr. Bernie loved to be with people, spend time with people, waste time with people; he valued the gift and presence of people. How many of us here this evening remember having shared special times or occasions with Fr. Bernie.
Fr. Bernie sought to accompany the people of God entrusted to his care on his Pilgrim journey. When he heard amongst the people of God someone crying out in front of the wounds and pain of life, Fr. Bernie was there to walk with them through the Valley of Tears; Fr. Bernie not only talked the talk, he walked the walk.
Our World is a beautiful World and a Wonderful World filled with much love and goodness. Yet, our World is a wounded world and a broken world, a world in deep need of ambassadors of reconciliation and healing. Fr. Bernie has been for many people an ambassador of reconciliation and healing.
Fr. Bernie has fought the good fight, he has finished the race and he has kept the Faith. Fr. Bernie has given God glory, honor and praise as to how he lived his Pilgrim Journey. Fr. Bernie has searched for God with all his mind and all his heart and all his soul, and God has let Fr. Bernie find him. It is now into the hands and heart of God that we entrust Fr. Bernie.
We are consoled by the words of John who wrote today’s Gospel when he says:
FOR GOD DID NOT SEND HIS SON INTO THE WORLD TO BE ITS JUDGE, BUT TO BE ITS SAVIOR.
Eternal Rest Grant unto Fr. Bernie Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed rest in the mercy and Peace of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Fr. Murray McDermott C.R.