Letter from the pastor
My dearest friends in Christ,
This past Christmas I received the news that my friend, Paul Coakley, from college days had not been feeling well and finally after experiencing serious symptoms, he had tests run which came with the very difficult news that he had testicular cancer that had metastasized to his lungs, and likely other places in his body. Paul immediately went into surgery the day after Christmas and praise God the surgery went well and Paul was in high spirits when he woke. This news of Paul’s cancer led to hundreds of thousands of prayers and sacrifices from all over the globe and Paul along with his wife Ann and their 3 children with number 4 on the way felt an abundance of love and support.
Sadly Paul passed away on January 20th. We were hoping for a miracle, and while his passing seems like God didn't answer our prayers, I know that He did. The miracle here was obviously not one of physical healing, but one much stronger than that. Paul showed us, those that knew and loved him, and those who only knew him through Facebook or other social media, that with God's Grace, we can remain faithful to the very end, even when that end is so very painful and exhausting. St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body… the church” (Col. 1:24). Notice how St. Paul says “for your sake.” He is aware that his sufferings are united to the sufferings of Christ and can actually do good for others. As St. Paul knew so to my friend Paul Coakley knew this all too well. In these past few days and weeks, Paul, like many saints including Pope St. John Paul II, showed us the great value in redemptive suffering. The love he had and continues to have for his wife, Ann, and their beautiful children, is so very evident in the fight that he gave. It is only fitting to now turn to pray for the repose of his eternal soul, joyfully interceding for his entrance into glory, and for his family, that our Blessed Mother will console them and wrap them in her mantle. Eternal Memory and Blessed Repose, Paul.
“If God causes you to suffer much, it’s a sign that He has great designs for you, and that He certainly intends to make you a saint.” – St. Ignatius Loyola
Pax et bonum,
Fr. Justin R. Ferguson