Friday, July 31, 2020

Funeral homily for Daniel Desforges

Here is the text of the homily I prepared for the celebration of a funeral that took place today.  We pray our brother into heaven, the reward of eternal life for all those who believe.

All that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I shall not turn him away (Jan 6: 37-40.

Some say that there is no such thing as coincidence. Today people from far and wide are gathered in this space. We are not here by any mere coincidence but rather to stand in the presence of God and to watch uncomprehendingly as this moment unfolds.

The path of Daniel Desforge’s life brought him to Elliot Lake a number of years ago. Here he met the woman who he married. The wedding took place at Paroisse Sainte Marie. It was here that their children were born and grew up. In time they left Elliot Lake and moved west to Red Lake. There the family still lives. Daniel continued his work in the mines and after he retired worked as part of a fishing camp. He found great enjoyment in these endeavors, for he was always in outdoorsman at heart

Throughout the years of his earthly life, Jesus continually brought Daniel to the Father: to God. And as the scriptures say, whoever comes to the Father will never be turned away. It was in his prayer that Daniel found consolation and strength. It was from his prayer that he found joy: a joy that was expressed in the love he had for every member of his family and for everyone who he had the privilege to serve.

Daniel was a faithful Knight of Columbus and a devoted servant to all those who needed his help. His family members told me proudly of the ways in which he was always devoted to helping the parish priest in Red Lake in so many different ways. As Saint Paul wrote to Timothy, Daniel may also speak to us: remember the good news that I have carried: that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead (2 Tim 2: 8).

This gathering today has permitted us a rare opportunity for many of us whose lives have been affected and changed by the love that we have encountered in knowing Daniel to come together in this place. What can we say about him even at this moment as we stand at the doorway to heaven. The book of wisdom tells us that the virtuous persons, though they die before their time, will find rest (Wis 4: 7). Let us remember with gratitude all that we have come to know and love because we have known and loved him, and let us offer our humble prayers for the salvation of his soul.

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