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Monday, September 28, 2009

Funeral for Fr. McKiernan

Fr. Ray Nobiletti, as main celebrant and former regional of Hongkong, gave a fine homily tribute to the mission life of Fr. Mike McKiernan, who took his perpetual oath to Maryknoll in 1940.

Personally, I felt Ray's pastoral experience at Transfiguration in Chinatown was evident throughout the liturgy, with the ease and grace with which he presided as well as his following the rubric that the homily should be a reflection on the Gospel reading—in this case the Beatitudes—and not, as is too often done, simply a eulogy or list of anecdotes.

Ray did manage to make it personal, however, recalling how Mike would often regale younger missioners with his adventures and exploits, inevitably evoking a "Wow!" response from listeners. Among the highlights were Fr. McKiernan being imprisoned for several months at Stanley prison following the outbreak of World War II and then having to flee the Chinese mainland again, first from the Japanese army and then from the Chinese Communists.

Yet all these were in the context of "Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness...."

The committal ceremony was held in the Spellman Room and, after it was
over, Kaserow and Lukaschek agreed that at future ceremonies, placing the coffin before the statue of OLOM would be more pastorally significant.

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