Tony Waldron has Died

Tony Waldron has died. Most of you who read my blog have never met him. He lived most of his life in and around Athenry in County Galway. In his early life he spent some time in England, but his work-life was mostly on the railways. And he was a hard and skillful worker. He was married to Marie, and they have four children.
Tony was my first cousin on my mother’s side.
I wish you had known him, because he was one of those people about whom it can safely be said that the world is a better place because Tony spent eighty four years among us. He grew up in a time and place where education was not easily available, so Tony got his learning from his life experience. He was extremely bright, and he learned well. He was gentle and strong, a great dancer and storyteller. During the last couple of days, in the final throes of his illness, I was able to spend some time in the house, and it was wonderful to witness the depth of love being poured out on him from Marie, the family, and a great many friends and neighbors who kept coming and going. I was taken by what a wonderful preparation it was for what I believe eternity will be — an absorption into the very essence of love, which is the Divine Presence.

At this stage, after six years, and moving into my seventies, I don’t very much miss not being able to minister publicly as a priest. But I think I will next Friday. As far as I know, the priest who will celebrate the funeral Mass has never known or even met Tony. I think I will be down in the seat, wishing I was up there on the altar doing my level best to do justice to the occasion and the man.
But I know that ultimately that does not matter. The Mass is the Mass, and I believe that the Divine Love will embrace all of us.