Today, at the conclusion of the Silent Retreat, we were reminded to pray for my priest friend that I went to visit a few weeks ago. Father had round the clock hospice care and had discussed his wishes for his funeral with his family this week and it was believed by those around him that he would very soon be received into Heaven. My friend reminded everyone how Father started Eucharistic Adoration at St. Rita's, where he had been stationed twice in his long ministry, and also, of his devotion to the Divine Mercy.
Shortly after praying the chaplet with his family, our beloved Father Jim passed away this afternoon, on the first Saturday of the month, on the feast of St. Francis Xavier, surrounded by many priests and family members. What a privilege for a wretch like me to have known this very holy man, the only real spiritual director I ever had.
Please remember Father in your prayers, praying not only for his soul, but to him with your intentions. With the exception of Father Benedict Groeschel, I have never been in the presence of priest so holy, yet so humble and so sweet and generous.
I will write more about Father Jim a bit later. I cried when I received the news, not with sadness, but with the kind of joy that only comes from God, Who saw fit to call His son home on the First Saturday of the month, a day dedicated to Mary, Mother of priests.