Fr. Tony was my husband’s friend from a Seminary which he attended in High School and so I decided that because my husband and I were not on speaking terms, I would isolate myself in our bedroom where I could grieve the loss of the man I loved.
As expected, Fr. Tony, who was on his way across country to a newly assigned missionary parish, arrived in the middle of this crisis. He immediately began working to save our marriage, counseling us each individually.
I could not bear the hurt that caused this crisis and insisted my beloved husband leave. He and Fr. Tony left to stay at my mother-in-law’s home, only to immediately return, stating that my mother-in-law had (wisely) instructed them that they were not welcome and insisted that her son must return to his home to reconcile.
This refusal of my mother-in-law forced us to continue to work at the problem at hand: how do we reconcile? Poor Fr. Tony spent another full day praying with me and listening to my grieving heart and attempting to console my husband who was in a state of despair.
The next day, my husband came to me and said, “Poor Fr. Tony hasn’t eaten in 24 hours! We need to feed him.” I agreed to join them for a meal, it was the least I could do to thank Fr. Tony for his efforts, although I could hardly bear to be in my husband’s presence.
During the breaking of bread, to his amazement and ours, Fr. Tony told us that, while traveling to NM, his car suddenly stopped running. He called for a tow to the nearest town. The mechanic said “there is nothing wrong with your car, it runs great.” He stayed overnight and began his journey early the next morning. After traveling for some time, to Fr. Tony’s surprise, his car again suddenly stopped running. He called for a tow, and again, the mechanic in the nearest town said “There nothing wrong with your car, it runs great!” Fr. Tony decided to stay the night and began his journey early the next morning.
By now, his travel had been delayed by two days, but this two day delay suddenly seemed like divine intervention. Had he arrived at our home when expected, it would have been before the crisis and he would have left before having the opportunity to help save our marriage!
Something he said during this time pierced my heart and has remained with me ever since. “Look at you two, you love each other! You cannot give up when you love each other!”
I knew he was right. I couldn’t leave my husband in the midst of his despair. I needed to help him find help for healing and then decide if our marriage could heal and survive.
I am forever grateful to God for bringing Fr. Tony to us. We have been married for 21 years, and through every trial, I recall Fr. Tony’s words to not give up on love.
Fr. Tony recently passed away from a massive heart attack while traveling to his brother’s funeral. I look forward to seeing him in Heaven. At his funeral, he was so loved by the multitude of those he served that came to bid their goodbye and give thanks.
He worked tirelessly, entering the Seminary as a brother at the age of 23 and serving for 18 years before being ordained a priest at the age of 41. He went on to serve as Assistant Dean of Students, the Dean of Students, and then Pastor at many Mission Parishes in the roughest and most impoverished neighborhoods in the United States.
At the time of his death, at the age of 72, he had served as a priest for 31 years.
Fr. Tony was truly a missionary priest, traveling to those who were in most dire need and working tirelessly to save souls.
And, in my case, to save marriages!
© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® http://www.womenofgrace.com
How can you be a part of the healing of our Church? Join us for a webinar with Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S., Founder of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests on October 16 at 8:PM ET for "Spiritual Mothers, Spiritual Warriors: Instruments of Peace and Healing in the Midst of Crisis." Click here for more information!