I wrote recently about the death of Miguel Arias.
On Thursday, together with 3 people from LTP [Liturgical Training Publications – where Miguel had also worked], Terry and I went to Miguel’s home town of San Jose de Gracia in Jalisco Province, Mexico, to be there as Miguel was buried.
The wake lasted 24 hours and was deeply moving. We were told that, at some point, each and every one of the town’s 8,000 inhabitants would come to pay their respects. It was simple, dignified and very real – lots of prayer, lots of children (some playing with their Gameboys!), lots of milling about but, above all, lots of love on display.
The Mass was on Friday afternoon and the church was jam-packed. At one point, the homilist suddenly turned and asked me to read a letter from Cardinal George in English. I was taken completely by surprise and didn’t have my glasses. I couldn’t read much of the text and had to guess at quite a bit of the contents as I spoke! [Forgive me, Your Eminence.]
Miguel had asked that his casket be carried the 1.5 km from the church to the cemetery. A mariachi band accompanied us. It was pretty grueling; Miguel weighed next-to-nothing when he died, but the coffin was steel and very heavy. About 20 of us took turns, six at a time. As I was one of the tallest, the weight really bore down on me. I have bruises on my shoulders and I’m sore.
It is a good hurt to have – a proxy for the way I ache for Miguel’s widow and stunningly beautiful little daughter.
May perpetual light shine upon him and may he rest in peace. Amen.