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‘He had a home with us’: Hundreds turn out for funeral of homeless man at Catholic church

Mourners line the altar rail to receive Communion from Father Joseph Illo, pastor of Star of the Sea Church in San Francisco, during a Nov. 7 funeral Mass for Thomas Myron Hooker, a homeless man beloved by the community and pictured in a portrait near the altar. (CNS photo/Christina Gray, Catholic San Francisco) See HOMELESS-FUNERAL Nov. 30, 2016.
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Beautiful story, from CNS: 

Thomas Myron Hooker lived the last 20 years of his life without a roof over his head, but his death proved he was hardly without a home.

Hundreds of people — church families, neighbors, shopkeepers and perhaps even strangers touched by the cheerful kindness and generosity of the man who for years had made camp under a tarp on a street corner in San Francisco’s Richmond District — streamed into Star of the Sea Catholic Church Nov. 7 to express their respect and affection.

Hooker had endeared himself to the parish and surrounding community with his gentle spirit. He spent a part of each day praying in the back pews, said Star of the Sea pastor Father Joseph Illo, who eulogized him as “a kind of patron saint of the homeless.”

“The meaning of being homeless beyond shelter is when you lack a home, lack a family who understands you. You are homeless when you don’t feel you belong anywhere,” said Father Illo. “Many of us who live in more comfort are more homeless than Thomas was. He had a home with us.”

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

Photo: CNS/Christina Gray, Catholic San Francisco

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