Fr. Noel O’Connor SAC Funeral in Ireland

Homily for the funeral Mass

by Fr. Derry

Ireland, 16th of May, 2019 – A very warm welcome to our Community chapel, we gather here several times daily to pray and to celebrate Mass. We are gathered for our final Mass in Noel’s presence here on earth.

Today we celebrate his life, a life well lived; and we celebrate his death, which he went to with faith and trust; in this our funeral Mass. The Mass is the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ and is the bedrock of our Catholic faith, and it is right that we celebrate today our Mass of thanksgiving for Noel, for his person, for his life and for all he was to us and for others. We had a gathering in Noel’s presence in our chapel in Dundrum on Tuesday evening and I was struck by the sharing of Noel’s brothers and sisters and how the words “thank you Noel”, were repeated time and again.

Noel was born on 17th December 1952 into a faith-filled family and faith was to be central to him and to his life. What can I say about Noel? Well, lots, as all of us who are gathered here could say about him. Yesterday Noel’s sister Anna was telling her sister Rachel of the gathering in Dundrum on Tuesday and she said, with a smile, “we canonized Noel last night”, and as we all smiled, she added “we knew the complete Noel, faults and all”; as did we his Pallottine family. A few weeks ago a mutual friend on hearing that Noel was not well sent me an e-mail and he wrote “Noel is a living saint as far as we were concerned even though he has his faults but he was a true missionary”, and there is truth in this affirmation, Noel was saintly, however there was the lived day to day life of family and of life in the Pallottine community with his faults and failings. If I were to pull both of these together, I would summarize and say Noel was a man of Faith. He had a deep, unshakeable, unbreakable faith in God. He sought God everywhere. He had a great appetite for the things of God, and Noel’s faith deepened, matured and was refined by suffering, his own, and that of others, but it did not waver. In his six years of living with brain cancer he lived by faith. We lived with him, and he never complained, never ever, occasionally he would wince at loud noises, or banging doors, because he had a sore head after the surgeries, but no complaints.

Noel’s faith was his belief in God, his continuous openness to God, his search for God – in prayer, in the Word of God, in the various Church movements in which he participated over the years, in the Sacraments, and in all of life and ministry he sought God. Noel’s faith in God morphed into knowledge that God is; God is person; God was life giving to him and with him. It is true to say that faith is a gift, but Noel ‘worked on it’ and sought an ever-deeper faith; and all of us learnt from that.

Secondly Noel was a man of integrity, of great personal integrity and probity, and this was shown in how he related to others and to life situations. We would joke about Noel being ‘a bit of an operator’ and a ‘bit of a gangster’, and he could be, but always what he looked for was for others, and never for Noel himself.

Thirdly in Noel’s life there were no half measures, he gave all, and in a sense he burnt himself out in a life of service and of hard work.

The readings chosen for today’s funeral Mass speak to us of Noel and his Christian life. The first reading from the Old Testament, from the Book of Wisdom was read by his niece Lisa; it is a reading that we have heard so often at funerals, but what is expressed in it is so true of Noel. The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God; they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster … but they are in peace … their hope was rich with immortality … they were tried by suffering, tried like gold in a furnace, purified, and accepted by God. Yes, it is true that Noel was too young to die, too strong to die, but as the reading affirms his going from us is not annihilation and he is in peace.

The Psalm was Lay Your hand gently upon us O Lord, a prayer of petition and trust sung beautifully by Rachel.

The second reading read by Noel’s niece Ashling is from chapter 8 of St Paul’s letter to the Romans, a passage that Noel loved. St Paul writes of his own experience, of the unbreakable bond between him and Jesus Christ, which Noel hungered for in life and which became his experience and his conviction, nothing could, or did, separate him from God in Jesus Christ.

The Gospel reading is from Chapter 5 of the Gospel of St Matthew, the beatitudes, with the repetition ‘blessed are … happy are … the’; and if you go through them one by one then you can tick them off, one by one, because Noel modelled himself on the heart of Jesus and here we have expressed the heart of Jesus; and Noel lived these, imperfectly, but he lived them. ‘Happy are the poor in spirit’ and Noel was poor in spirit; happy the gentle, Noel was gentle, happy those who mourn … happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right … happy the merciful … happy the pure in heart … happy the peacemakers … happy are you who are persecuted in the cause of right … Noel lived these, imperfectly, but he lived them, he hungered for justice, he was merciful and compassionate, Noel had a pure heart all through life, Noel was a peacemaker, in his family and certainly in our Pallottine community, Noel strove for what is right.

Noel has left a legacy, though not a whole lot of material goods because he had very little and what is there probably came from others anyway – he would go away for a few days to visit one of the family and take with him a little plastic bag and arrive back with perhaps a new jacket, shirts, a jumper, trousers and more. His legacy to us is the lived life of a man of faith and what faith in God becomes in a lived life. His legacy is the good which lives on and the happy and grateful memories that are lasting.

To us Pallottines his legacy is his commitment to and his dedication to our Pallottine community and to our work and life. JJ will speak to us later of what he left to his family.

We have been overwhelmed with the messages we have received in these days, text messages, WhatsApp messages, e-mails, phone calls and the assurance that there are many masses being celebrated for Noel all around the world. There will be a memorial Mass in Wyandotte, Michigan, on Friday 24th May at 7pm; perhaps we can join spiritually with those gathered there that day.

Noel was born on 17th December 1952 and was baptised on the 20th. He was confirmed on 2nd May 1965. He entered our Pallottine community as a postulant in September 1967, he made his first Pallottine consecration on 12th September 1974, his perpetual consecration on 4th June 1977 and was ordained deacon shortly afterwards and was ordained to the priesthood on 10th June 1978. He died on 13th May; the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, and his brother Tom who arrived a few short minutes after Noel had died commented how appropriate it was that he die on that feast day as his mother had a great devotion to Our Lady of Fatima.

Noel was a faithful missionary disciple; may he enjoy the eternal presence of God.

Fr Derry Murphy, SAC.

Fr. Noel O’Connor SAC – RIP 12/17/52 – 5/13/19

A message from Fr. Michael L. Cremin SAC …

Co. Dublin, Ireland – It is with great sadness and sorrow that we heard of Fr. Noel’s death on Monday, May 13, Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. He died in Blackrock Hospice, Co. Dublin, Ireland, surrounded by his family, along with Fr. Derry Murphy SAC, our Provincial Rector and Fr. Michael Irwin SAC.

As many of you know, Fr. Noel had been battling a second brain tumor over the last few years and went back to Ireland 16 months ago to be near his own family. During that time apart from ongoing treatments, he was able to go fishing with family and friends to some of his favorite fishing spots.

While Fr. Noel lived here with us in Wyandotte, he served as Mission Director at the Pallottine Mission House, assisted at our parish and neighboring parishes and worked at our local Wyandotte Hospital as Chaplain. He was highly respected as a very caring pastoral priest and sought out by many for one to one counseling and spiritual direction. He lived a very simple priestly life and strove to provide as much material help to those he served on the missions in East Africa for over 26 years.

Fr. Noel was an example to us all of holiness and detachment. We are consoled in knowing that his suffering is over and that he now enjoys a tremendous reward with the communion of saints in heaven. May God bless him with great peace and rest. Amen.

A Memorial Mass and Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, May 24 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Joseph Church, 344 Elm Street, Wyandotte.

       

                

Catholic Goods Store

135 Superior Blvd., Wyandotte

Located in the school offices of the old St. Patrick School building.

If you haven’t stopped by our store recently, you will be surprised by the items that are available. Missal sets, rosaries, First Communion gifts, Confirmation gifts, Easter items and cards, statues, books, prayer cards and other religious items.

Hours: Saturday 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm; Sunday 9:30 am to 11:00 am; Wednesday 12:30 to 1:00 pm.

For more information, call the store manager at 313-802-5934.

Plaster Work at St. Joe’s – March 11 thru 15, 2019

Roof repairs and sealing of the roof at St. Joseph Church have been completed. Now we can re-plaster the damaged areas within the church with the assurance that there will be no more leaks to damage the plaster work.

The work will be done at St. Joseph Church the week of

March 11 – 15 during the day.

So the daily Masses at St. Joseph Church

(Tuesday 12 noon, Thursday 8:30 and Friday 12 noon),

will take place at

St. Patrick Church

135 Superior Blvd., Wyandotte the week of March 11 thru 15.

Also, if any funerals come in that week, they will take place at St. Patrick Church.

Thank you for understanding and sorry for any inconvenience this may cause. The daily masses at St. Joseph Church should resume the week of March 18.

Archdiocese of Detroit – Processing Complaints

With the hope of healing for those who have been abused by members of the clergy – and in response to questions from the faithful – the Department of Communications shares an open letter from the Honorable Michael J. Talbot, Chair of the Archdiocesan Review Board, on the processing of sexual abuse complaints in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

To report sexual abuse by clergy or church representatives, go to protect.aod.org/report-abuse

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Recent reporting on the scourge of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church provides a timely catalyst to review the practices and policies in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Questions and answers, such as: What happens hereHow are complaints of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy processed in the Detroit archdiocese? And by whom? As chairman of the Archdiocesan Review Board, which considers all such complaints and then advises Archbishop of Detroit Allen Vigneron, I would like to share with you how we have handled cases here for many years. I also will describe our outreach efforts to the victims of clergy sexual abuse and our extensive and ongoing efforts to promote safe environments.

Prior to the June 2002 meeting of the U.S. Bishops in Dallas, when the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was adoptedthe Detroit archdiocese reconstituted its review board. (An earlier version of the review board was established in 1988, when the archdiocese became one of the first dioceses to implement a policy on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy.) I accepted the role of chairman of the independent board formed in 2002, and continue in that same role today. My current fellow members include a retired prosecutor, a psychologist, a health care executive, a former superintendent of Catholic schools and an archdiocesan pastor.

In the spring of 2002, the archdiocese also signed voluntary agreements with the prosecutors from all six counties within its boundaries to share case files of priests accused of sexual misconduct in previous years. In some cases, those files involved complaints of abuse that occurred in the 1940s and 1950s. Four criminal prosecutions resulted from the archdiocese sharing its files.

Importantly, this agreement with prosecutors continues to this day. Since 2002, every complaint that comes in, regardless of its source or the date of the alleged activity, is reported to civil authorities. No complaints are held back, pre-screened or disregarded. The archdiocese fully cooperates with law enforcement.

Similarly, complaints are considered by the Review Board. That process usually includes an independent investigator whose findings are forwarded to the Review Board. We currently work with two investigators: a retired police detective and a retired prosecutor. If the Review Board finds a complaint credible, it sends notice to the archbishop, who will forward the case to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which reviews all cases involving the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy. The archdiocese considers a complaint to be credible if it has a “semblance of truth,” meaning it appears to be or could possibly be true.

No priest or deacon with a credible complaint against him is allowed to continue in active ministry during the time his case is under review by the Church or civil authorities. Those priests who are restricted and/or removed from ministry are monitored by a retired parole officer to ensure compliance with the strict limitations on their public ministry.

If an allegation against a priest or deacon is found to be credible, his name is posted on the archdiocesan website at protect.aod.org. He may also receive a permanent penalty of living a life of prayer and penance or dismissal from the clerical state, also called laicization. In either case, he may no longer represent himself as a priest or deacon, can no longer wear clerical attire and may not exercise any form of church ministry.

The archdiocese has publicly posted the names of restricted and/or removed priests and deacons for more than 15 years. Current practice also includes notifying the parishes in which the clergy in question served, as well as local media.

Complaints come to the Detroit archdiocese by verbal report via the 24/7 toll-free victim assistance line, 866-343-8055, or in writing to vac@aod.org. There are no deadlines or time limits on those who wish to make a complaint; it does not matter if the abuse occurred five, 15 or more than 50 years ago. Every effort is made by the Victim Assistance Coordinator – a credentialed social worker – to assist with healing and counseling for those who have been abused. If requested and helpful, the archbishop or his priest-delegate will meet with the victim.

We recognize that the best approach to addressing abuse is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Since 2002, the archdiocese has implemented a number of safe environment programs, all designed to identify situations that could leave a child vulnerable to the methods of sexual offenders and to emphasize the critical steps that must be taken to prevent and report the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

The program for adults, called Protecting God’s Children, is mandatory for all clergy, church representatives, employees and volunteers – all those who work with children and vulnerable adults. There are also similar, age-appropriate, personal safety programs for grade school, middle school, high school and religious education students. They go by such names as Circle of Grace, Called to Serve, Called to Protect and Think First and Stay Safe.

Since 2002, more than 101,000 adults have been trained through these programs. In addition, each year we provide training for the 29,000 students in our Catholic K-12 schools and the 39,000 in Religious Education.

The archdiocese also regularly educates church and school personnel about mandatory reporting. In Michigan, professionals required to report their suspicions of child abuse or neglect to state authorities include clergy, school teachers, counselors and social workers.

Our highest priority is those who have suffered from clergy abuse. We recognize the deep trauma from their experiences, and we understand it may take a long time before an individual is ready to come forward. No matter how long it has been, we are here to listen and try to be of assistance.

Each meeting of the Review Board begins with a prayer first used in 2011 by the Archbishop of Dublin. I would like to conclude by sharing that prayer with you:

Lord,
We are so sorry 
for what some of us did to your children:
treated them so cruelly, 

especially in their hour of need.
We have left them with a lifelong suffering.
This was not your plan for them or us.
Please help us to help them.
Guide us, Lord.
Amen.

Respectfully,

Judge Michael J. Talbot (Ret.)

Chair, Archdiocesan Review Board

 

Blessed Solanus Casey – Love Your Neighbor as Yourself

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Blessed Solanus Casey, whose first-ever feast day we celebrate July 30, was a saintly model of God’s command for us to “love your neighbor as yourself.”

It’s not easy!  You may have heard yourself say the following at one time or another:
“My co-worker is impossible!”
“If only my kids would do their chores or my spouse help me more!”
“The drivers on 1-75 are making me crazy!”

Watch here and see the advice Blessed Solanus gives us on how we can live more peaceful and productive lives, in a spirit of cooperation with those around us.

St. John Paul II Catholic School – Registration open!

When it comes to raising their child, many parents look at the teachers at Catholic schools as partners, trusting they are teaching the same values in school as they teach at home. Catholic schools focus on instilling character so students make the right choices, no matter what their friends or others might say. Call St. John Paul II Catholic School today to talk about a Catholic Education for your child.

1590 Riverbank Street · Lincoln Park, MI 48146
Phone (313) 386-0633 · Fax (313) 928-1326

ENROLLMENT

QUALIFICATIONS FOR ENROLLMENT

Entry to St. John Paul II Catholic School is open to all families as described:

  • Families who are registered and active members of our supporting parishes of Christ the Good ShepherdOur Lady of the Scapular and St. Vincent Pallotti

  • Catholic families that do not belong to our supporting parishes, but are registered and active members of a neighboring parish without a school

  • Catholic families not currently registered in a parish

  • Non-Catholic families

Students with disabilities will be evaluated for admission on an individual basis; admission will be based upon their needs and the school’s ability to accommodate those needs.

AGE QUALIFICATIONS

  • Preschool (3 years old) – a child must have reached the age of three (3) on or before September 1st.

  • Preschool (4 years old) – a child must have reached the age of four (4) on or before September 1st.
  • Kindergarten – a child must have reached the age of five (5) on or before September 1st.

TUITION ASSISTANCE

Many people assume that a Catholic education is just too expensive.  In fact, tuition assistance and affordable payment options are available.  An investment in a quality education that will benefit your child is priceless and can be much more affordable than one would believe.

All families that are active, registered parish members at an Archdiocese of Detroit church may qualify for Private School Aid Scholarships (PSAS) for children in grades K – 8.

PSAS Enrollment forms will be available in the school office and/or you may visit the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Tuition Assistance & Scholarship page for more information regarding these programs.

School Enrollment Form – click here

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron – Christ’s victory over the sin of Racism

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In Unleash the Gospel, my pastoral letter on the New Evangelization, I wrote that “our communities are ready for renewal” and that there is “a readiness to move beyond the ways we have always done things and to think about new ways.” All of us in the Archdiocese – bishops, priests, and laity – are engaged in this renewal which, I pray, will transform our local Church into a band of joyful missionary disciples sharing the good news of Jesus Christ throughout southeast Michigan.

One of the obligations of a bishop is to provide spiritual guidance to the souls under his care. In that spirit, I will, over the coming months, share with you a series of pastoral notes which provide such guidance on issues of importance in our local Church and community, through the eyes of Unleash the Gospel. I hope that you find these notes to be of some assistance.

The first step in any renewal is repentance from sin, including the violent sin of racism. This week marks 75 years since growing racial tensions contributed to three days of civil unrest in Detroit that took the lives of 34 people and injured over 400. So today, I wish to share with you a pastoral note on Christ’s victory over the sin of racism in which I offer a few words about how we, a community of followers of Jesus Christ, can show love to everyone we meet, treat all people with dignity and respect, and work together to heal the wounds inflicted by sins of racism in our community.

Entrusting you and your families to the loving care of Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, and to our Patron, St. Anne, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron

Catholic Services Appeal 2018

Archbishop’s Message

As I shared in my pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel, each and every person in our Archdiocese is called to encounter Jesus anew, to grow daily as his disciple, and to give witness to the power of his mercy. In this spirit, the theme of the 2018 Catholic Services Appeal is Opening Doors to Grow with Christ.

Click here to watch video.

To be a disciple of Jesus Christ requires a constant process of growth, like the seed that fell on rich soil. Christians seek to be more like Jesus, to treat others as he did, to pray as he prayed, to love as he loved, and to honor God in every area of our lives. As the U.S. bishops summarized in their pastoral letter, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, growing as his disciples demands that we embrace stewardship as a way of life.

Each year, we have the opportunity to grow with Jesus through the CSA. As faithful stewards of God’s grace, we live out the Gospel mission of our Church when we embrace the valuable ministries, programs, and services our annual appeal supports. The CSA unites us as a faith community because no one individual or parish could possibly accomplish alone all of these good works that we are able to do together! Because of the CSA and all of the good it accomplishes, we grow with Jesus to become, in the words of Pope Francis, a “band of joyful missionary disciples.”

As you prayerfully consider your pledge to the 2018 Catholic Services Appeal, please take a moment to read and reflect on the gratitude your friends and neighbors have for the CSA and its many benefactors. I am sure you will be inspired to once again make the most generous gift possible.

The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit

Fr. Noel – Get Well Wishes

As Fr. Noel faces some health challenges, he is now back home in Ireland to decide what course of treatment is best for him.

Please keep him in your prayers.

 

If you’d like to send a little note to Fr. Noel, please mail to:

Fr. Noel O’Connor SAC

Pallottine Fathers

Sandyford Road, Dundrum, Dublin 16

Republic of Ireland