(The names have been changed in this true story, below.)
I once attended a weekday Mass at a Catholic parish where I was working at the time. As I took a seat in the small side-chapel where daily Mass was typically celebrated, I quickly recognized the signs that this would be a funeral liturgy. Honestly, I thought about leaving, but I finally decided to stay. I will always be grateful that I did.
A few minutes after the Mass began, someone noisily entered the vestibule just to the left of the chapel. Some persistent rustling sounds followed, and chagrined faces began turning to look for the cause of this disruption. Suddenly, the door to the chapel swung open and a homeless woman, carrying her belongings in a few small bags, maneuvered her way inside. There was a hush.
At first she just stood there, apparently sizing up the situation. Then, she asked quite loudly: “Is this John’s funeral?” The priest who was celebrating Mass informed her that it was indeed John’s funeral, to which she responded: “I have one thing to say!” There was another hush, a bit more uneasy this time. Had John offended her somehow? Was an accusation forthcoming? Her next words broke the awkward silence. “He was the best cab driver in this city!” And then she was quiet again.
Smiles began to appear. The priest thanked the woman for sharing her sentiments and invited her to stay. She declined, saying: “Nope. I said what I needed to say.” And she turned and left.
What a wonderful eulogy! What a blessing for John’s family! What an amazing way of thanks… giving!