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17th Sunday of the Year

Fr Bob Lee SM RIP

Knock and the door will be opened to you is a verse taken from today’s Gospel passage.

My prayer is that my Uncle Fr Bob Lee, 94 years of age, who died on Wednesday morning will have the door to eternal life with the God he loved and served so well opened to him.

He was a Marist for over 70 years and a priest for 69 years.

His ministries were varied but the most significant was his time at Hato Paora Maori Boys College in Fielding for 41 years including a time as Principal. I remember as a child hearing him speak Maori in a way I had never heard Maori spoken before, as it was meant to be pronounced. He influenced me to do the same.

I am so grateful to have spent several quality hours with him the day before he died. He has lived in Wellington for the last few years and I flew down to see him. He had been experiencing a few health issues. My first attempt was stymied by fog on Monday, but I got through on the Tuesday. What a blessing given the circumstances. We talked about Mum, family and his Marist life. As I left, I asked him for his blessing, and he prayed so personally and beautifully for me and our family and I was able to bless him and acknowledge all the people he had served and encouraged as a Marist and priest. I am comforted by having that chance, the last of his family to do so. I hope those reading this can have the opportunity to be with loved ones at the end. I know it doesn’t always happen.

This coming Thursday we will be celebrating Fr Bob’s requiem Mass at St Mary of the Angels and I have the honour of preaching the homily. Fr Bob chose his readings and in a very real sense they will be his final word to us.

‘They who trust in Him will understand the truth, those who are faithful will live with Him in love; for grace and mercy await those he has chosen’.

What an awesome promise.

The song for this week is ‘Salve Regina’ from ‘Pilgrims of the Heart’. As Marist’s we sing this plain chant song together in honour of Mary on significant days and during significant events. We will sing it for Fr Bob as we lower his casket into the earth.

May we give thanks today and throughout the week for all significant people in our lives. May we have the opportunity to spend time with them.

Eternal rest Fr Bob.

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