Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell, Joe Palmisano, S.J.

Today was the funeral of Joe Palmisano, S.J. who died at the age of 41 on Christmas Day. It is quite a tragedy that he suffered a lengthy illness, but there is comfort in knowing that his suffering has come to an end. We will miss him.

My last visit to Joe was two weeks ago at Campion Center. I was told he was weak and would not be able to recognize me. As I walked in, he said, "Hi, John," and we had a pleasant conversation. He thought he was at villa where he could rest and pray for a while before returning home. It was quite consoling for me

The funeral was filled with concelebrating priests. Though it was certainly a sad gathering, I again was very consoled by the presence of so many good brother Jesuits who cared deeply for Joe and for one another. It was very much like a homecoming for me since I haven't seen so many men of my province in three years as I was in Amman for two and had surgery this summer whereby I missed the province assemblies.

Joe arranged his own funeral and one of the most moving portions of it was when the oboist played Gabriel's Oboe from the film The Mission. The luncheon afterwards was just the way he wanted it: festive with lots of laughter.

We do miss him. The day was sad, but we have great stories to share with one another. He is now home with Christ and together they are making sure we are strengthened by our care for one another.