I have a group I meet with every week to bring them communion and to spend some time with in prayer. It is a small group of about ten people, though it is rare for everyone to remember to come. Considering how bad my memory is now, I expect I won’t remember to come at all when I live there.
They are a very close group of people, and they share much of their lives together. They play bingo together, eat together, read the same books, and frequent each others apartments. My daughters come with me when we visit, and we always stay longer then we intend to. They are simply a fun group of people.
I love them all dearly, they all bring a magical quality to our gatherings. We have one who is the key organizer, calling everyone to remind them to come, we have one who always brings a little something to read aloud to everyone that is spiritually edifying. We have an old man who can’t hear much, but is doing everything he can to be engaged and present to everyone there, nodding approval, and the woman who always brings a letter she got in the mail from some charity showing the suffering in the wold to remind us to pray for them.
Francis (name changed) always brought her smile.
She was just plain cheery, all the time. A sweet, delicate woman, her husband was not Catholic, so this was her opportunity to spend some time with those who shared her faith, and she rarely missed a service. She would talk often about her son, though she had not seen him for several years.
When I found out she had passed away, my heart fell, not for her death, but for our loss. She was faithful to the end, and never gave up hope for her husband, her family, her friends. She loved God so dearly, and we all knew it through her joy filled life.
Her husband had her cremated before we even found out she had passed away, and he didn’t feel a service was needed, so we decided to have one of our own.
I brought a few extra hosts that day, because I knew everyone would show up, and show up they did. We had more people for her memorial then we ever have had for any service before. Everyone was full of joy, and we talked about her for at least an hour among ourselves before we even thought of starting our prayer.
After our communion service, I asked if anyone would like to pray the rosary with me. Normally, in any Catholic group I am involved with, my mention of the rosary is followed by a long drawn out ugggggh. Not today, not with this group. Most of them had brought their rosaries just in case, and I had brought a few for people who did not have one with them. I still had a pile in front of me when we started.
Now I have to admit something. I really don’t like leading the rosary. I lead so much prayer now, and the rosary is so feminine a prayer, that I am partial to hearing it lead by a woman. Personal preference mind you, I just like it that way.
The slow melodic voices of these woman leading us was just so beautiful. It was not overdone, nor was it rushed through. It took just as long as it was supposed to, and it just felt right.
God bless you Francis, I miss you, we miss you, and I pray that the Lord bring you into his peace.