Monday, October 29, 2007

Ecce sacerdos magnus qui in diebus suis placuit Deo.

I've lost a friend who was indeed a great priest.

He didn't much like losing his hair at an early age but managed to laugh about it.

He knew all the old hymns, both the Catholic and Protestant ones. When I told Edward that I had read that Wallis Simpson's favorite hymn was "Will there be any stars in my crown?", he immediately pulled his copy off the shelf, took me right up to the choir loft and pounded it out on the pipe organ while I sang every verse in the empty chapel at 2AM.

As you can see, he and Renato could resist looking at the camera whenever we were being photographed at St Peter's, but I could not. This was our position behind the high altar, three feet away from where the Pope was lowered in the sedia. As soon as his feet touched the floor, the three of us would make a profound genuflection that caused our white pleats to billow in unison. Paul VI would give us a moment's attention through narrowed eyes and once or twice he grumbled something under his breath, but he knew we were just having fun and enjoying our youth, and being part of the spectacle, and perhaps doing just what he had done when he was our age.

Edward and I could easily crack each other up, and more than once we got into a bit of trouble for not being able to stifle uncontrollable laughter during the papal solemnities.

Edward, I am honoring your wish for prayers and candles to speed you out of purgatory and into heaven where you will once again have a full head of hair in which to anchor a crown full of well-earned stars.


R J Keefe said...

Very sorry to hear about your loss, but thanks for posting a photograph from which I can hardly tear my eyes. Aren't those aviators suspiciously worldly? Or is it that we're not in WLC anymore?

Cooper said...

I recognise your eyebrows. You look a hair's breath from laughter there, too. I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. May he rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

Nothing like a solemn religious ceremony to spawn a flurry of giggling hilarity.

My condolences to you.

Madison, WI

Joe Jubinville said...

dona eis requiem sempiternam

Anonymous said...

Tony: Thanks for the memento Eduardi. I was at his deathbed. Oremus pro invicem. Steve

dpaste said...

Baruch Dayan Emet

Anonymous said...

Is that Monsignor Petty?
If so, Rocco Palmo had a great write-up on him at Whispers in the Loggia.
Great picture. But sad, the passing of our youth.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for your loss, Tony.

You have lived a varied and interesting life, and I, for one, can't wait to read your memoirs. You do look like you are on the verge of laughter in that photo, and I can't help but admire your stunning outfit. Takes me right back to my past duties as an altar boy...

BigAssBelle said...

so sorry to hear that you've lost a friend.

the description of your amusements in the presence of the great pope is marvelous.

that picture is stunning. aside from the eyebrows ~ which have envied on a daily basis since i first saw them in a photograph ~ i'd have never been able to pick you out.

like tater said, though, you do look as if you're on the verge of laughter. not a bad thing to bring into God's presence.