This past Monday our Archbishop, Cardinal Sean, celebrated the funeral Mass for Fr. Richard Messina here at Saint Mary Church. It was with sadness we learned of his death on October 12. The time from his diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in the spring of this year until his final committal and burial was a time of sadness, prayer, friendship, love and hope for this priest of Jesus Christ. Talking with the many parishioners from Saint Mary Parish and other parishes where Fr. Dick was assigned during the wake was a blessed time. So many persons shared stories of the pastoral care he shared with them and the difference he made in their lives. He lived out not only his Baptismal vocation, but also his vocation to the priesthood.
Remembering the years he served as pastor at Saint Mary Parish, Fr. Dick touched the hearts and lives of couples preparing for marriage, parents having their children Baptized, children in our Religious Education programs, families experiencing the loss of loved ones, individuals struggling with difficulties in their lives, bringing comfort to the sick, preaching and witnessing to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and most importantly his Celebration of the Eucharist. In all these ways his life, his ministry and his death recalled not only his love for this parish but also his participation in the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ. During his journey he kept the gift of faith shared with him on the day of his Baptism, and he ran the race faith filled throughout his life.
We thank, praise and give glory to Almighty God for the blessing Fr. Dick was to his family, Saint Mary Parish, to the other parishes and to his brothers in the priesthood. Fr. Dick joins the long list of other pastors, now deceased, who using their unique gifts and talents helped make Saint Mary Parish such a wonderful Catholic Community of faith over these past 140+ years. May God grant unto his Servant Priest, Richard, the eternal life and reward promised to him on his Baptismal Day and lived throughout his priestly life. May God comfort his family, his friends, this parish community of faith and his brother priests with love and joyful memories.
On behalf of our parish family, I would like to thank Cardinal Sean for his celebration of the funeral Mass and comforting words to Fr. Dick’s family and our parish family, to Fr. Rick for his participation, reflections and prayer, to all members of the Pastoral Staff in helping with arrangements, to our Music Ministry leading us in song during this time of loss, to all who coordinated hospitality for Fr. Dick’s family and friends, to all parishioners for their prayers, cards and friendship to Fr. Dick over these past months, to Costello Funeral Home for their professionalism, care and assistance with all the details for the Rites of Christian Burial, and to the many others sharing their love and friendship during this time of loss. Jesus Christ promises to all those who believe in Him, even though we die, we shall live with Him forever. Eternal rest grant unto our brother and priest, Richard, and may your perpetual light shine upon him always.