Thought I'd share a few pictures I took at Mass the other day. Msgr. Gallagher, a priest of our diocese who works at the Vatican, celebrated Mass for us at the 'Altar of the Tomb' in the crypt of St. Peter's Basilica. Msgr. Gallagher offered the Holy Mass in memory of Bishop Cooney. It was November 15th, one month after Bishop Cooney's passing. I learned this summer in my time at the Italian parish about this beautiful custom in Italy of offering a memorial Mass for the recently departed on the one month anniversary. They sort of celebrate the 'trigesima' Mass as a second funeral. It is an opportunity for everyone to renew their prayers for the recently deceased.
The Mass was concelebrated by Msgr. Jerry Vinke, a spiritual director at the NAC and a priest of the Diocese of Lansing, and a student priest, Fr. Brandon Bernhard from the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. Deacon Matthew Furgiuele served as the deacon for the Mass. Matthew Cowan served as an acolyte and I lectored. Seminarians from Michigan and a visiting family friends of Msgr. Vinke joined in participating in the Mass.
Msgr. Gallagher offered a few reflections on the life of Bishop Cooney during the homily. Here are few quotes I remembered from the homily:
"How beautiful it is that today we have the opportunity to celebrate this holy Mass in rememberance of the life and service of Bishop Cooney, a successor of the Apostles, here at the tomb of Blessed Peter, the prince of the Apostles."
"Bishop Cooney witnessed to us during these past few years an important lesson about the Kingdom of God; that is that in as much as the Kingdom of God is realized here on earth, how much more ought we earn for the Kingdom of God in heaven. This life isn't the last word. Bishop Cooney knew this in faith and showed us this by his life."
It was a really beautiful Mass. Dcn. Matthew, Matt, Chris and I are fortunate to have Msgr. Gallagher here with us. It was tough not being able to be in Gaylord for the funeral and everything. But this Mass really helped us to be united with you all back home in praying for Bishop Cooney and giving God thanks for his life and ministry which has touched us all in some way.