Here is the text of the homily I prepared for the celebration of the funeral that took place earlier today. This man was one of the pioneers of this city. May he rest in peace.
Funeral Homily for Reginald Lahaie
Today, we are here to offer our condolences to Jeannine and to her family and we are also here to ask the Lord to welcome our beloved brother Reg into our heavenly home.
Reg has been here in Elliot Lake for a very long time. Like many others, he worked in the mines and was involved in the community. He and Jeannine have been part of the parish community here for many years. The world around us says that our brother has died but the words we have heard today in the first reading help us to understand that the souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God (cf Wis 4: 7). This is true at all times, so our presence here today is an act of faith. Our brother no longer lives among us in the same way as he once did, but we celebrate all that he has done and we give thanks to God for the years He has granted us to spend with him, for the many ways in which we witnessed his hope and his faith, and for the many ways in which Reg’s faith has nourished our faith.
During his time among us, Reg once served as the coordinator for Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist. The fact that he was called upon to do this, and entrusted with this responsibility, was a reflection of his commitment to the parish and the important role that faith played in his life. Like all of us, he heard the words of the gospel on many occasions, and he lived these words every day. In the gospel passage we heard today, Jesus reassured his disciples that if they listened to his words and believed in God who sent him into the world, they would be assured of eternal life (cf Jn 5: 24). This promise still holds true for Jesus’ disciples today. Again today, we have listened to these words and we are sure that the promise that was made: that Reg - and all of us - have been assured of eternal life when our earthly lives are ended. That makes this gathering a celebration for us, because we can be sure that Reg is now living in heaven.
This promise of eternal life also holds true for us. In fact, we have heard today that ‘everyone moved by the Spirit is a child of God’ (Rom 8: 14). This is indeed wonderful news and we can rely on this truth. We may know of many cases where people’s family lives are not perfect, where there are challenges of all kinds, but we can always be reassured that we are beloved children of our God. Our God loves us with perfect love. This love continues no matter what we may suffer in this life and in fact the glory that awaits us is beyond our wildest dreams.
Today, we offer our humble prayers, asking God to welcome our brother Reg into his eternal reward. As we continue this celebration of faith, let us ask the Lord to strengthen us, to help us to live as people of faith.