Friday, May 3, 2013

Fr. William Scanlan RIP

Late last week, Fr. Bill Scanlan, 66, from the Boston Archdiocese (residing in Marian Manor) returned home to Our Lord, leaving his family, many friends and people who loved him.   His funeral was today, Friday, May 3rd. 

It has been a rough week.

You forget how painful grief is, how it sucks the oxygen out of your universe, making it hard to breathe. 

There truly is a physical presence of a soul and when it leaves this earth, it feels like an amputation.  Even through the pain, you forget it isn't there and you keep reaching for it to seek its advice, solace, love and comfort.

For those in Fr. Bill's life, along with our loss of our friend, we were grieving the vocation he was, in face we all were, robbed of - what should have been.  Fr. Bill was falsely-accused by a disturbed young woman.  Her story was impossible.  Consequently, he was never charged by the police - and he was dragged into Canonical court more times than I can count - four? - and exonerated each time.

I actually don't know what was more painful - the idea that an individual would concoct a story to destroy another human being and priest, the betrayals and cowardice that followed,  the injustices and cacophony of 'bishop's accountability (whom I lost all respect for)  or the outrageous chicanery from the luminaries in the Chancery, some of whom I know deeply regret it.   It was a terrible rollercoaster ride and it took a terrible toll. 

There are broken, desperate or bitter souls needing money or attention who have and will in the future concoct a story of abuse by a priest.  The system for reviewing allegations is a kangaroo court in which the innocent are prevented from exoneration. 

 At last, Fr. Bill is free.  He has dissolved into Christ and has found peace. Fr. Bill was a fiery, very generous, loving, thoughtful, funny, funny man and priest who touched many lives.  My family will miss his love, support and his laughter. 

There were four bishops at his funeral and many priests.  One of the bishops who shared the final remembrance, told two stories. 

He said he visited Marian Manor once a month to do Masses.  A few weeks back, a woman from a family he had served was dying.  All had been said and done and the family was gathered around not knowing what to do or say, very quietly just waiting by her side for the moment of death.  Fr. Bill heard of it, pulled off his oxygen and somehow got upstairs.  When he entered the room with his great energy, they were soon talking, praying and even laughing in those final moments.

The Bishop said his last interaction with Fr. Bill was after Mass a few weeks ago.  After severely critiquing his homily, he gathered the Bishop's two hands and held them into his own and said "I love you and I'm praying for you".

Below, is one of Fr. Bill's last reflections.  He actually wrote another which is set to be released this week, no doubt with afinal message for each of us whom he loved.  Probably a kick in the backside and a hug.   How we will all miss them both!

Subject: The Call that seems to come with the election of Pope Francis I

It is the feeling of many that the Church must revitalize its Spiritual core ... Back to basics especially deep daily prayer.
As I  on the happenings of the week, I thought of two of my favorite “prayers” + the prayers of many ... I hope you enjoy these insights.
Reinhold Neibur
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Note About The Serenity Prayer's Real Author
You'll find many references online to some not being sure who really wrote the above prayer, some claiming that Reinhold Niebuhr was not actually the author. Many have researched it, including trying to find out if it even goes back to 500 A.D. Despite all the research, though, it still goes back to Niebuhr being the author.
It certainly appears that Reinhold Niebuhr did indeed write The Serenity Prayer. Niebuhr himself discusses the prayer and how it came about it in his book, The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses. You can read the page yourself via here if you wish: The Essential Reinhold Niebuhr: Selected Essays and Addresses, page 251. Niebuhr states,
”... The embarrassment, particularly, was occasioned by the incessant correspondence about a prayer I had composed years before, which the old Federal Council of Churches had used and which later was printed on small cards to give to soldiers. Subsequently Alcoholics Anonymous adopted it as its official prayer. The prayer reads: 'God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.' ...”
In addition, Niebuhr's daughter, Elisabeth Sifton, wrote an entire book about her father's prayer, The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of Peace and War, that explores the circumstances around which her father wrote this prayer, the wide range of versions of this prayer, and the real essence of the prayer's meaning. She quotes The Serenity Prayer on page 277. NPR (National Public Radio) interviewed Sifton about her book, which you can listen to via NPR's website: The Serenity Prayer: Faith in Times of Peace and War.
The English version of the prayer reads as follows:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Perhaps the original publication of the prayer was submitted anonymously to the French publication La Clochette in 1912.
Seigneur, faites de moi un instrument de votre paix.
Là où il y a de la haine, que je mette l'amour.
Là où il y a l'offense, que je mette le pardon.
Là où il y a la discorde, que je mette l'union.
Là où il y a l'erreur, que je mette la vérité.
Là où il y a le doute, que je mette la foi.
Là où il y a le désespoir, que je mette l'espérance.
Là où il y a les ténèbres, que je mette votre lumière.
Là où il y a la tristesse, que je mette la joie.
Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler,
à être compris qu'à comprendre,
à être aimé qu'à aimer,
car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit,
c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné,
c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie.
An alternate version is found in Chapter 11 (Page 99) of the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", a book published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.Amen.
The following variation on the prayer was delivered by Mother Theresa when she addressed the United Nations in 1985:
Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,
who live and die in poverty and hunger.
Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread
and by our understanding love give peace and joy.
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
That where there is hatred I may bring love,
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
That where there is error I may bring truth,
That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
That where there is despair I may bring hope,
That where there are shadows I may bring light,
That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
To understand than to be understood,
To love than to be loved.
For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.


susan said...

I'm so sorry for your loss...for our loss. The taking from this world of a good shepherd truly is a kind of amputation for the Church Militant, but a glorious reunion for the Church Triumphant (he seems to have spent his Purgatory here). But knowing we should always pray for a departed loved one, no matter how holy their soul appeared to us...

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and let perpetual Light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

TTC said...

thanks very much!

TTC said...

Dear "Nancy G",

I am not posting your insidious remark. You are the person with the demon inside of you.

Mimi Napolitano said...

I miss Fr Bill and think of him often. I pray for hime and to him as I know he can send a good word for me in his eternal life with the Lord. He reunited me with the church and I am forever grateful.
Mini Napolitano St James Parrish Stoughton

TTC said...

Mimi, he is praying and interceding for all of us!