It seemed perfectly fitting that it would be during the month dedicated to the Holy Souls that one of our dearest chaplains in our community’s history was finally called home. After a long lifetime of selfless sacrifice and cheerful service the Lord began to prepare Father Gregory McCormick, s.P. for his final journey. We received news of his passing on the morning of November 7th and we all prayed for him immediately, yet with great joy. Mass was just about to be said around his bed when he quietly departed. When they realized he had passed, they went ahead with Mass! How wonderful!
Our hearts and minds filled with precious memories of this priest who might best be described as ‘mercy walking on two legs’. His homilies, his favorite jokes, his bits of wisdom disguised in creative wordplay at the ambo all surfaced in prolonged thanksgiving as we remembered the gift he was, and still is, to our community, to his community, the Servants of the Paraclete, and to the priesthood and the Church.
He often said that God takes us not all at once, but in pieces – like a box of chocolate, one piece at a time. As he aged, however, and personally experienced the depth of that truism as first his vision, then his hearing was taken, even a casual observer would be struck that the only thing God did not take was Father Gregory’s unshakable gratitude for everything. In this he was a great disciple of our Founder. He was even grateful for suffering.
Now it is our turn to express our deep gratitude to the Lord for the gift of Father Gregory and we happily pray for this beautiful priest. Had he remained on earth a little longer he would have celebrated his 70th Anniversary of Ordination on December 17th. Had he lived a little longer after that he would have celebrated his 97th birthday on Christmas Eve. His eyes would twinkle as he would smile explaining why he was born in Ohio. Why? “Because I wanted to be near my mother.”
May he rest in peace…a priest forever.