a friend within

Jun 15, 2024

Food for Faith Podcasts
Food for Faith Podcasts
a friend within
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Over the decades I have celebrated and attended many funerals, including the rites of Christian Burial (to use the formal name) for many priests.

It is relatively rare for the eulogies and homilies given at these funerals to get to the heart of the matter.  Very often the focus is on the earthly achievements of the person with stories told of grandad’s golf and grandma’s baking, of Father’s Monday hobbies and parish organisational skills.

Very often a person of great faith is buried without a mention of their great faith.

One funeral last week was very different.

Anton McLean was a diocesan priest who had made his home in recent years among the people of my home diocese of Christchurch. I had great love and respect for Anton, and was not surprised when a Press obituary referred to him as “a friend of Jesus.”

There is no greater praise for a priest – or for any person.

I thought you might like to hear one of the most powerful funeral homilies I have ever heard for a priest.

While John was sharing a eulogy rather than a homily it is my hope and prayer that we might learn both from Anton’s life and from John’s reflection to seek more passionately (as Anton did) the ultimate relationship with (as Anton reflected in the title of his book – available at this link) Jesus A Friend Within.

13 Comments

  1. Very powerful true words. So applicable to Fr Anton. Thanks for sharing with us who were not at this Requiem Fr John.

    Reply
  2. Indeed thanks for sharing. Who is the other wonderful John, who spoke so powerfully of his friend? Inspirational.

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    • One of the most beautiful and faithful
      Priests i know. He truly was a friend to all. I was so saddened to hear of his death tonight. I use to visit him at Lochee road and he always had the biggest smile and so so giving. RIP a special friend

      Reply
    • Thank you for sharing this. I agree that funerals focus on the outward accomplishments so much, that talking about one’s inner faith is passed by. My uncle’s memorial was today. I was not able to travel to be with my family, so, while listening I could also think of my Uncle’s faith. Thank you for giving me that chance. I came to this site for Lectio Devina, but found this moving encouragement as well.

      Reply
  3. Oh my goodness! What a eulogy! What a priest ! What a friend! Thank you Father John for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Beautiful. Thank you. Gentle tears silently coursing down my cheeks. What a beautiful soul.

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    • What a gift. I was sobbing.

      Reply
  5. This was truly wonderful what a lovely feeling hearing this beautiful eulogy, thank you John.

    Reply
  6. I was deeply saddened when I heard of Fr Anton’s death. Having only met him a couple of times when he had said Mass as relief supply in the parishes I was in. However Anton himself & his celebration of the Mass always impacted me deeply. Therefore I was puzzled as to why I felt so upset at the news of his death. Now after listening to the eulogy I understand he truly was the face of Jesus. R.I.P. Anton.

    Reply
  7. What a powerful eulogy which has touched my heart.
    David

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  8. What eloquent words to describe a beautiful soul.

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  9. Fr Anton, was a blessing in our diocese. Never did he turn down a request for help. I loved his prayer after communion to Jesus, such simple yet so meaningful words. I thank God for planting him in our midst. Rest in Peace.

    Reply
  10. Thank you John for this beautiful eulogy regarding a Priest I had never met, but my husband had the privilege of knowing Anton at primary school in Oamaru. Anton was the head altar boy and Andy lived in awe of him even then. He also apparently saved him from drowning in the school pool.
    I felt so moved that I cried. You are right. We focus far too much on this worlds achievements and not enough on the Faith of the person. May Fr Anton rest in peace and rise in glory with his friend Jesus. Amen.
    Anne

    Reply

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