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Wednesday 29 June |
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‘It never occurred to me that my non-Catholic parents would find such love and comfort from a priest.’

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Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 08/30/17

This morning, I got an email from an old friend in Arizona, Branda, a woman I sponsored by proxy for baptism nearly 10 years ago.  (Long story.) This is a great witness about the power of the priesthood, and the beauty of a life of selfless service. The priest in question visited Branda’s parents often—and even took part, with a minister, in a baptism service for Branda’s dad, Frank, a couple years ago. I share this story here with Branda’s kind permission. Please keep her and her family—and her beloved dad, Frank— in your prayers.

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I wanted to let you know my Dad passed away last Saturday, the 26th. He was three months short of 100, so I was sorry he didn’t make that milestone. He was also just short of my parents’ 72nd wedding anniversary.

His passing followed an 8-day period of hospice care, in which my dad could not speak or eat, etc., possibly due to a stroke. But what was most amazing was my priest, Fr. Greg (apparently it’s a good Catholic name!)

As you know, my parents aren’t Catholic, but since the baptism, Fr. Greg has visited my parents every few months. He and my dad are both natural story tellers, so the visits were always great fun, and they really liked each other.

Fr. Greg grew up on the eastern plains of Colorado, then AZ, so he gets cowboys and cattle, etc. And he had just visited my Dad a few days before the apparent stroke, and we all had a lot of fun.

Anyway, I called Fr. Greg immediately when my mom and I woke the morning of the 19th, and realized something was wrong with my Dad. He raced over then and continued visiting and praying with us for the entire 8 days. And we live about 11 miles (one way) from the parish, so it’s a bit of a haul for him. The morning my Dad died, I called hospice, then Fr. Greg. I don’t even think he said goodbye on the phone…it just went dead and minutes later he was at our door. Am not sure what my Mom or me would have done without him. You see, my Dad was cared for by VA Home Health Care and they don’t work on the weekends; hospice couldn’t help us until the VA released him, so all we had was Fr. Greg for almost 72 hours.

Fr. Greg has also agreed to officiate at my Dad’s service at the Veterans cemetery chapel.

At one point, we told him that we felt bad about taking up so much of his time; he kind of laughed and said, “That’s why priests aren’t married.”

It never occurred to me that my non-Catholic parents would find such love and comfort from a priest. Amazing.

Who knew where this Catholic journey would lead me and my family!

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Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…

Below, a picture of Frank at his baptism four years ago: becoming, officially, a Christian at the young age of 95.

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