These pictures were taken on October 4, 2012.…just a few months before Father Michael received his cancer diagnosis. I had seen him after Mass the day before. He had told the story of his mother and the family’s sheets. Very touched, I’d written a note thanking him and he responded the next day with:
I will bless the animals at 2:30 pm. Why don’t you bring your dog? I have mass at noon.It is the feast of St.Francis.Have the best day ever.
Well, my dog Becket was very old, 14 years- with hip problems. I tried to get him into my car which was in the garage, but he just couldn’t jump into the back seat! Becket weighed 140 pounds, so I also had trouble lifting him. It was a lost cause. I had started early, but I didn’t make it to the blessing that day. Later I told Father M what happened. He wrote:
Pet blessings are not restricted to St Francis Day. You can bring him any time I am there and I will give him a blessing.We had a good crowd of pets yesterday. The children absolutely love it.
So on October 5, I experienced a ‘drive thru’ blessing. I was able to get Becket into the car easily from the height of the curb in front of my house .….a little miracle. Father Michael was waiting for me as I drove into the St Vincent parking lot. He told me “Don’t worry about getting Becket out of the car. Just roll the window down and I’ll sprinkle him”.Father Michael addressed Becket by name and Becket turned to look at him attentively. We chatted afterward. Father Michael said, a little wistfully “he seems like such a nice dog.…is he a good dog?” ” Yes, he certainly is” I said. And again I thought of how Father Michael would have loved to have a dog. Father was so happy doing this- just as he looks in the pictures. Without a doubt,it was a delight to him .Father Michael then said “Well, I’m glad I got to bless him. You’ll see, he’ll feel better now.” He knew that Becket had been struggling at times with arthritis and doggy old age ailments. Becket did seem much more energetic for some time afterward ! Becket died in his sleep in July 2013.
Bittersweet memories today.…but I’m so grateful I have them!