Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sad news

Just eight months ago I attended the fortieth anniversary celebration of my friend Patrick Rosheuvel's ordination to the priesthood. It was an event at which he shone, radiating joy, fun and a sense of occasion proper to this milestone in his life, despite being badly disabled by the stroke several years ago. His wife Judith had emailed me a month ago, mentioning that his health had got worse, and that he'd been in and out of hospital of late. Tonight Edwin Ward, a colleague from USPG days rang to tell me that Patrick had died at home last Sunday morning, just before dawn.

Edwin told me that the Sunday before, having been housebound for a while, Patrick had felt well and strong enough to attend church, and concelebrate the Parish Mass with the Vicar, and acquitted himself well, blessing all the children at the communion rail, as he loved to do. Then after a quiet week at home he slipped away peacefully, without any fuss, to be with the Lord, on the first day of the week.

In our time together at USPG, we did a missionary roadshow, with a small band three or four of us, singing songs, telling stories about the spread of the Gospel and the growth of the church in lands both near and far. The songs were either Patrick's or Gospel music, which we both loved. I still recall them well. The double album of his own music which he recorded back in the eighties shortly before we first met, called 'Special Feelings', long out of circulation, travels with me still, one of the first of my vinyl collection to be transferred to the mp3 player which keeps me going on long distance journeys.

He was such an inspirational loving man, in whom earthy holiness and hilarity strolled hand in hand. His good cheer, wisdom and sense of the absurd pulled me back from despair many times - even thinking about him in the years when we were both too tired or busy being clergy to get together, was enough to make me smile with good memories. A rare great soul - and apart from this blog, not a mention on Google. Both John and Golda his kids are musicians. John composes, Golda is a rising show biz performer, getting the hits her dad would have deserved, if he hadn't been so modest and self-effacing about his own creative gifts.

Rest in peace bro. See you up there hopefully.

1 comment:

Angela said...

Thanks for your celebration of Patrick's life.