johnmac's rants

Friday, February 05, 2010

Two Funerals

I went to two funerals in the last two days (Thursday, February 4th and today). Although the funerals differed in location and the groups in attendance, the deceased had similarities.

Yesterday's, held in "the home parish", Good Shepherd (Inwood, Manhattan, NYC) was for hero fireman and all-around good neighborhood guy Jim McArdle -- I always thought of Jim as "Jimmy" or "young Jim McArdle" because my baseball and basketball coach during my teen years was Jim McArdle, ex-minor league baseball player and also a fireman and good guy.

Jim was piped into Good Shepherd by a bagpiper and accompanied by a formal NYFD entourage. The church was packed and,in the course of the solemn Mass, his sister, Kathy McArdle, led us a a very moving and eloquent personal petition of the faithful-- eloquence matched only by the wonderfully moving eulogy given at the end of Mass by Jim's older brother, John McArdle.

Today's funeral, at my current parish, St. Elizabeth Seton (Shrub Oak, NY) was for Gaspare Frank Bruno, retired NYPD first grade detective and, for the last nineteen years, a deacon at Seton. The church was packed to send Frank off (with ex-pastor Bishop James McCarthy in attendance). Msgr. Thomas Sandi, pastor of SEAS, was "at the top of his game"in his homily describing Frank's life and commitment to service.

The fact that both were buried in Gate of Heaven Cemetery (Valhalla, NY) was only of the similarities between the funerals. Both men gave of themselves without hesitation both to family and to the citizens of New York. Both were highly decorated and had legions of friends to "see them off". Both gave more than they -- unless one counts the love that was evident at their funerals.

Those who knew either were richer for the experience.

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