8 p.m., and dinner is over. Lamb and lemon potatoes filled the bill tonight after a big salad (and a slice of pizza) at luncheon.
I have Fr. Vic Barnhart on the mind tonight.
A year ago, Vic wrote me as I left the chorus: “We all have our journeys. Lord knows I’m on mine. May your future be rich and bright. If I can have some part in it, some part in your circle of friends, I will be a blessed man.”
One of the first people I met when I moved to Saint Louis was Vic Barnhart. Less than two weeks after I arrived here, we stood together watching the Pride parade on a June Sunday morning, and we chattered and chattered. We subsequently shared meals at each others homes. (I am especially mindful of a first meal that included Zabaglione for dessert, my first introduction to this delicacy, made fresh in Vic’s rectory kitchen.) Fr. Vic blessed both of my homes in Saint Louis with priestly blessings. He always had a kind word, and was continually sending notes of encouragement via email and this blog.
As I’ve watched the words on Facebook this week, I have found that he was all this to many others as well.
We never know where will take us, who we will meet along the way, or what jogs and jags the journey may include. And for those us of a certain age, seeing someone in our generation die — much too young and still filled with life — the inevitable hint of mortality is an unwelcome reminder of the shadows of death that fill all of our lives.
John Donne reminds us that no man is an island, that every man’s death diminishes each of us if we are indeed a part of humanity. The bell tolls for Fr. Vic, but also for me, and for everyone I know and love. And this is as it should be.
But Saint Louis won’t be the same now.