The Funeral Mass was here at Holy Cross this past Friday. How appropriate and how fitting! Father Furey had his send-off unto Eternal Life from the parish where he last served and ministered as a priest. He truly enjoyed coming here. He told me that himself – more than once. On the one hand, it always saddens me when a brother priest to whom I was close, dies. Yet, it is the priest, more than anyone, whose life on earth proclaims that Life to come. Our ministry here is but a temporary one in preparation for one which is eternal. Priesthood in this life prepares the ordained for priesthood in the next. What that coming priesthood involves is not entirely clear except that it is bound intimately with the ministry of Christ, the High Priest. So, in this sense, it is an assignment to which any priest can look forward and it is in this sense, that I am very happy for Father Furey. We first made contact with one another when he was at Villa Saint Joseph – the retirement community for priests needing varying degrees of nursing care. I was looking for some help here at Holy Cross, since I was by myself. Father was happy to volunteer. He felt grateful that he was needed. At some point early on, I invited Father to consider moving here and living at Holy Cross. He did consider it and would have taken me up on the offer, but he felt it best to stay at the Villa because of the nursing care available. We had some enjoyable dinners here at the parish in our time together and he always remarked how good it was to have a “home cooked” meal here at the parish, instead of the “institutional” food of the Villa. I think that he just enjoyed getting out. I know that he especially enjoyed helping out and saying Mass here at Christmas in 2019. Father had found a new home. He had relatives here, knew people and the principal in our school which he liked to visit, and his brother was nearby. He also had a newer pastor here that liked to bend his ear once in a while. He readily understood that such pastors need to vent occasionally – or simply seek input from a priest with more seniority and experience. He was due to cover Masses for more than an entire week this past May. I would be away with family and friends celebrating my own priestly anniversary. Father was so looking forward to spending this time with all of you, the people of Holy Cross. But, this would not be. This past year and COVID struck everyone hard, but especially all of the priests living at the Villa. Their lockdowns became progressively stricter. For as much as he would have liked, Father Furey could no longer come here to celebrate Mass. I did check-in on him now and again with a phone call. One day, it was Father Furey that called me. He called and asked how I was doing and how the parish was doing in the midst of this pandemic. I told him that we were all hanging in there. I then, asked how he was. Okay, he said, except for the little car accident. Car accident! The man was in a car accident, in which the car he was driving was totaled, and here he was asking me how I was doing!?! He said that it wasn’t really that bad. I found out later from his brother, that no, in fact, it was pretty bad. Father wasn’t terribly injured, so much as terribly shaken and yet, here he was, being a true priest, asking about you and me. I’ll never forget that. It was not long after this that Father, unfortunately, had to deal with the virus himself. As with so many people, it took its toll on him. Physically, he would not recover as he began his journey Home. Father died the day after Christmas. We’ve all lost a good priest and friend here at Holy Cross. A priest’s ministry though, does indeed, continue beyond death. As we pray for Father, I’m rather certain that he, in turn, is praying for all of us. Thank you, Father Furey for ministering to us here at Holy Cross! Thank you for adopting us as we adopted you! And thank you for letting me bend your ear once in a while! In fact, I may still need to do that at times! Please pray for us as we continue to pray for you! Requiescat in pace!