Friday, November 25, 2011

Rest in Peace

"So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God." II Cor 5:20

Msgr. William Lyons a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Louis for over 55 years and Spiritual Director at the North American College for the past 8 years passed away on Monday. He is a beloved priest and spiritual father for the seminarians at the college. His health failed him very quickly in the last week. He died at the end of Mass celebrated at the foot of his bed by his longtime friend, Cardinal Law.

Msgr Lyons was my own spiritual director these last few months. He really is a holy and humble priest. He helped me so much these last few months make the transition to life at the college so far away from home. My fellow new men got to know Msgr. when he led our silent retreat in September.

As a sign of his love and fidelity to his priestly ministry, Msgr Lyons never stopped administering the sacraments. For three weeks with what was probably a broken hip from the cancer in his bones, he stayed at the college hearing confessions and keeping up with his spiritual directees. I had gone to him for confession and spiritual direction only two weeks before he passed away. Even from his hospital bed he heard confessions and gave spiritual direction. Archbishop Dolan told us that his last words to him on the phone was that he was so happy to be going to the Little Sisters of the Poor (nursing home) because from there he could hear confessions and give spiritual direction.

Msgr. Lyons' funeral was celebrated today by Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis. Msgr. loved the college and her seminarians very much. So much so that his final wishes were to remain here in Rome to be buried and remain close to the college. He will be buried along side other American seminarians who in previous years before the invention of airplane passed away and were buried here.

This week I lost an awesome spiritual director and priest mentor, but now with faith and hope I've gained a powerful intercessor in heaven. Rest in peace Fr. Bill.

Vergine Immacolata: Aiutateci!

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