From the Pastor

A week ago, I lost a good friend.  All of us here at Holy Cross have lost a good friend. Gerry Canterino was indeed a good friend.  Even if you didn’t know her personally, she was your friend here at the parish in the work that she did as the parish office secretary.  Answering phone and door among any number of other things in the course of a day for well over twenty years, she would greet, welcome, and accommodate all who came or called.  When I first came to the door here at Holy Cross, it was Gerry who was one of the first to welcome me and then do her best to accommodate me as the “new” new pastor.  I will forever hear her voice saying to me, Don’t worry about it, Father, as I fretted, at times, over various and brand new pastoral responsibilities.  Early on, as I was preparing to take a day off, Gerry would say, Father, just get out of here and relax!   She even helped “grease the wheel” in that regard when she would offer a black labeled bottle or purple pouched spirits on a birthday or at Christmas.  I’ve sat any number of evenings “relaxing” and being grateful to Gerry.  Gerry was not only a good friend; she was also a co-worker and colleague here at the parish always reminding me to call her anytime, if I needed anything – and I know that she meant it.  You see, Gerry had a great love for her Church and a great love for her priests.  Although she might respectfully refer to me as the pastor here at Holy Cross and her boss, one has to understand what the relationship was really like.  I would suggest that one need look no further than the relationship between Our Lord and His Mother.  Beyond any doubt, Jesus was the Boss, yet He never did anything in conflict or contradiction of His Mother and if His Mother made a request of Him, how could He not but fulfill it.  Gerry mothered her priests in much the way that Mary mothered her Son.  Gerry’s death had nothing to do directly with the coronavirus on the one hand, but on the other, indirectly, that God forsaken virus had everything to do with it.  It was the virus pandemic that took her out of the office and away from us these last months as Gerry was in that “high risk” category.  Gerry and her family were simply and understandably just being prudent.  However, it was the ongoing pandemic that kept her out of the office as much as she desired to come back and after a few health setbacks, it, again, was COVID that prevented any visits that staff and I might want to make to her.   The end came rather quickly and suddenly.  Stroke can do that.  Someone in the office spoke to Gerry just a week or so before she passed.  She sounded good and her spirits were up.  She still wanted to return to Holy Cross, but it was not meant to be.  Less than one day after I was told that she was being placed on hospice, Gerry was gone.  It’s hard to walk past the empty chair at Gerry’s desk knowing that now she will never sit in it again, but despite the sadness for all of us here at Holy Cross at the moment, there is still a sense of happiness and joy.  Our Faith tells us that Gerry is very much at peace and happy as she reunites with her beloved husband who died at a rather young age as well as with her brother and parents and countless others that Gerry knew and befriended and who preceded her in death.  Gerry though your office chair might now be empty, you will always have a seat in our hearts.  Thank you for caring for us, loving us, mothering us, and helping a “new” new pastor learn how to be pastor.  Pray for us as we will pray for you!  We love you and will sorely miss you, but we look forward to that day when we meet again and together “relax!”

Peace!

Fr. Wilson