Monday, September 15, 2008
Today I attended the funeral mass for Mr. Thomas Vander Woude. To tell the truth, although the liturgy was not in any way memorable, the circumstances of the liturgy were truly amazing. Mr. Vander Woude, as many may already know, died while saving his twenty year-old son with Downs Syndrome. Josie Vander Woude had been helping his father with yard-wrok, and fell through the cover of a septic tank. Mr. Vander Woude saw what had happened, and ran over to help his son. He jumped into the septic tank through a two-foot square hole, and manuevered around his son, eventually forcing his head above the contents of the tank. Unfortunately, it took over fifteen minutes for emergency vehicles to arrive. When they arrived, removed both Vander Woude's from the tank, and shipped them to the hospital, Mr. Vander Woude no longer breathed, having drowned while saving his son's life. The action alone was a wonderful act of love and sacrifice. But what stood out most about Mr. Vander Woude's action, was that it was normal to him. His entire life had been a life of self-gift to others. He raised seven sons, one to the priesthood; five others to the married vocation. He worked ceaselessly for his family, his community, and his church. Whenever one bumped into him, he was serving others. He volunteered as coach for the local high-school for years; with his own hands, he laid the floor for the gym. Actions such as these were a way of life for Mr. Vander Woude. Today, at the funeral mass, the fruits of Mr. Vander Woude's life were made clear. Well over one thousand-seven hundred people showed up to honor Mr. Vander Woude. Over seventy priests and the bishop of the diocese also came to honor him. Mr. Vander Woude's own son said the mass and gave the homily. He made clear that sacrifice was the way of life for his father, very much in the manner of St. Joseph, always giving himself, never drawing attention to that gift. He was, by all accounts a true man, one who lived entirely for others. Mr. Vander Woude is survived by seven sons, his wife, twenty-four grandchildren, and countless individuals touched by his quiet life of heroic self-gift. Here, then was a real man, a real Catholic. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Well, it has been a very long time since I have posted. I hope to get back to doing it more regularly, now that regular employment is recommencing. Upcoming posts will include commentary on Mr. Berlinski's book The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions, a discussion of a discussion that took place on a plane with a lapsed Catholic, and a few last thoughts on peace and monasticism. Stay tuned!