Confraternity of Penitents Funeral
We include the details of the funeral for William Thomas Eddy (br. Anthony), CFP, as an example of a funeral for a Confraternity of Penitents Life Pledged and privately vowed member. So often families do not acknowledge that their deceased relative lived a religious Rule of Life as a lay person. This funeral clearly showed this aspect of Bill's (br. Anthony)'s life.
We encourage penitents to make their family members aware of various ways to show and acknowledge that they were a member of the Confraternity of Penitents. The Confraternity of Penitents has a Funeral Kit available for penitents to keep in
available through the Gift Shop for those who are not in the Confraternity but who are looking for a simple Franciscan burial container.A tribute to Bill (br. Anthony) is in the January 2015 Confraternity of Penitents newsletter.
Funeral for William Thomas Eddy (br. Anthony) CFP
Saturday, January 3, 2015
On Friday, January 2, Madeline Pecora Nugent (sr. Margaret) assembled the intercessions for the Mass, written by sr. Lucy Fernandez, the two Mass reading selections and responsory and Responsorial Psalm, selected by Karen Hoperburger (sr. Faustina), and music for the Mass. She photocopied these and slipped them into a brown cloth bag made by Mary Ann Gennuso to take to the funeral. Into the bag she also packed a digital camera, Bill’s (br. Anthony’s) rosaries, scapular, San Daminao Crucifix necklace, and a few other religous items as well two ivory colored table cloths, and a notebook. She folded up a small wooden table on which sits the Garden of Gethemane icon which brother Dustin Niblock gave to the Confraternity of Penitents house. Madeline (sr. Margaret) then gave the table and bag to br. Jim Nugent to put into the blue car to take to St. Andrew’s church on Saturday morning for the funeral. br. Jim was also to pack a card
table from the garage. On Friday night, Madeline (sr. Margaret) thought about the camera and thought it might be a good idea to bring it into the house because it was cold outside, but she did
not go out to retrieve it because the temperature was not supposed to go below thirty degrees and that did not seem too cold.
The next morning around 8:45 a.m., Tim Luncsford who is living in a 40-year-old motorhome on the property while he does 20 hours a week work for us for the CFP in exchange for housing, phoned and said that he saw some things on top of the blue car and he wanted to let us know before we went to the funeral. Those were a small table and the brown cloth bag which br. Jim had left on top of the car without putting them insight. The weather was rain mixed with ice when br. Jim put the table into the trunk of the car (the card table had been put in on Friday) and brought the brown bag into the house. Madeline (sr. Margaret) put the bag, camera case, and tablecloths into the dryer on high. br. Jim found three hair dryers and he and Madeline (sr. Margaret) proceeded to dry the printed materials sheet by sheet. Madeline (sr. Margaret) found a new notebook to write down Father Jacob’s homily because the other one was wet all around the edges. Madeline (sr. Margaret) removed Bill’s (br. Anthony’s) cremains in their small wooden casket (made by an Indiana woodworker) from the CFP house chapel where they had resided for
almost two weeks, having been brought from the Ohio Crematorium by sr. Lucy Fernandez. Everything arrived before the 10 a.m. Mass, and in dried condition. Father Jacob was already in the church, praying his rosary, when everything arrived.
sr Lucy Fernandez arrived from Indianapolis and only got into the ice storm when she got into Fort Wayne, but Karen Hopersburger (sr. Faustina) and CFP Associate Nancy Meyer did not come down from Michigan because the ice storm was moving right into their area and they would have had to drive all the way through it. The sidewalks were slick under running water and it was a little treacherous walking, but everyone got safely into Saint Andrew’s. At the last moment, because Karen (sr. Faustina) was to lead the singing, Br. Juniper of the Franciscan Brothers Minor took over instead as song leader.
To our great joy we saw that the Poor Sisters of St. Clare had inscribed Bill’s (br. Anthony’s) name into the book of the dead and had it ready for us. They had also looked at and appreciated the large poster display that Amber, a teen who had to do community service and who did it for the CFP, had put together last week with photos, some of which the CFP had and others which had been sent to us by Carolyn Parks who had been power of attorney and friend of Bill (br. Anthony). The poster included the perpetual Mass card which the CFP obtained for our dear brother and copies of the pledge and private vow of Bill (br. Anthony). Sandy Seyfert, CFP, put the table cloth on the card table in the back of the church and also on the small folding table which Madeline (sr. Margaret) first wiped dry (it was wet from ice and rain) with a burgundy towel which she borrowed from the
women’s wash room. We then put the poster, the Book of the Dead, and the small wooden casket with the cremains of our brother onto the card table in the back of the church. We also placed around in the cord of life pledging, scapular of life pledging, our brother’s San Damiano crucifix necklace, San Damiano cross replica of the one Bill (br. Anthony) received upon pledging, and rosaries that were brother Anthony’s. Penitents came to view this tribute before Mass and we all prayed over the cremains before Mass began. In attendance were CFP Affiliate Andy Passino, br Jim and Madeline Nugent (sr. Margaret of Cortona), Sandy Seyfert, Jackie Steven, CFP, Mark Stevens and Jackie’s mother Jane, CFP Affiliate Kay Marie Nugent, Tim Luncsford, and the Poor Sisters of St. Clare and the Franciscan Brothers Minor who were present at the friary that day. Father Jacob said that he would use our brother’s religious name during the funeral Mass because that was, after all, the name by which he will be known for eternity.
After sprinkling the small casket with holy water, Br. Juniper led singing of “All Creatures of Our God and King” while the friars serving the Mass processed to the front of the church carrying the crucifix. Father Jacob followed and last came the casket carried by Madeline (sr. Margaret), as Minister General of the Confraternity. The San Damiano crucifix, similar to the one which br. Anthony received at his pledging, was on the top of the casket which was placed on the small table, covered with an ivory tablecloth, in the center aisle close to the altar. During the Mass, the Poor Sisters of Saint Clare sang an Offeratory and Communion Meditation. Father Jacob gave a beautiful homily (see below).
After Mass was concluded, Brother Juniper led the song “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” while the serving friars and Father Jacob processed out with Madeline (sr. Margaret) carrying the casket. At the back of the church, Madeline (sr. Margaret) placed into the casket the cord of life pledging, br. Anthony’s well worn scapular, and br. Anthony’s plastic rosary. She gave the San Damiano crucifix that had remained on the casket through the entire Mass to sr. Lucy Fernandez who was preparing to take br. Anthony to her home and care for him, as she is a nurse, but he passed away before this could happen.
With Father Jacob taking the casket in his car, we all followed him to the Catholic cemetery where the men met us and asked if
we wanted to have the graveside service as we had requested or did we want to come into the chapel. Since it was raining and icy, we requested the mausoleum chapel. The men led us the gravesite, quickly took the chairs and table that had been set up there but covered, and put them in a truck and brought them to the chapel where Father Jacob performed the committal service. We were able to take some photos of those in attendence and also got a photo of the casket by a statue of St. Anthony after whom br. Anthony was named.
We then returned to the Confraternity of Penitents house for a potluck luncheon. Madeline (sr. Margaret) set up the card table in the living room with the book of the dead and the poster of brother Anthony. The friars, having used a borrowed van which had a tire that was going flat, followed one of the cemetery workers to a garage where the tire was inflated and a few other maintainance jobs done to the van. The brothers arrived at the house quite late but stayed long talking. The rest of
Cremains Casket in Mausoleum Chapel
us were done eating by the time the brothers arrived. We had crockpot macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and some Christmas cookies from the Nugent’s; pulled pork with rolls, some beverages, frosted brownies, iced coffee, and potato salad from Sandy Seyfert; butternut soup with toppings and French bread from sr Lucy Fernandez, and a corn and meat crockpot casserole and cake from Jackie and Mark Stevens and Jane.
We were very blessed to be together and felt that this was a true Franciscan funeral for a penitent brother in Christ. May God bless bring him to eternal glory.
Cremains Casket by Statue of Saint Anthony of Padua in Mausoleum Prayer Chapel
Funeral Mass Homily for Bill Eddy (br. Anthony), CFP
Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, 2and He began to teach them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:1-12)
In this church that does not see many funerals in recent years, it seems appropriate that we are gathered here to bid farewell to our beloved brother, brother Anthony. And I know that most of the times you see priests wearing white vestments at funerals, but it is appropriate that the Church allows us priests to wear penitential colors for the funerals and that is why I am wearing these purple vestments today. If there is any group that would understand the meaning of penance, it is you people who are here today to bid farewell to your brother.
So here we are at this beautiful Mass. for a dear brother who lived a life in opposition to worldly values. He died all alone, but he did not die alone because he died with this family, with these brothers and sisters, who love life as he did and who lived the life that he did, a life that leads to glory because the life of penance leads to heaven. I keep thinking about the great soul of this man whom I have never met, brother Anthony, and, while a different reading was selected for this Mass, I kept thinking about this reading of the Beatitudes. And it is, I think, so appropriate for this dear brother of ours because the Beatitudes praise God and show us that we are to embrace the suffering that God
embraced and that, through that suffering, we are perfected and gain eternal life. The Beatitudes show the practices that we are to make, the penances to do, if we want to walk like Jesus. They show how those who hunger for God are to live. They show us that, through suffering, our brothers and sisters receive the promises that God made to them, and we believe that brother Anthony will receive the promises that God made to him because he lived these Beatitudes. Jesus said, “Blessed are the people who do all of these good things.”
We get caught up in the things of the world, thinking that they will make us happy, but they do not make us happy. What makes us happy is to be with God, and that is what suffering means. Suffering takes us to God. Our prayer for our brother is that he, who lived these Beatitudes and who was happy living them, will be eternally happy. We pray that his sufferings will lead him to a place of joy as the suffering of Christ led him there as well.
I marvel at the faith of this man whom I never knew. For four years he was in formation with the Confraternity of Penitents, and he lived this rule for six years before he died, still living it. He spent a whole decade living your penitential rule of penance and I could not even live it for a day! In the eyes of the world he seems to be very small and insignificant, but not in the eyes of God. br Anthony hoped for a reward that would gain him heaven, and we will pray him through Purgatory because we know that, no matter how good he was, no one is perfect. And we will help him to get to heaven by our prayers because we know that living a life of penance will make us better but it does not mean that any of us will be perfect. And so we will need time to be perfected after our deaths. But may our prayers speed him through purgatory. And we trust that, when br.
Anthony does get to heaven, he will get to meet the countless souls whom he saved by his suffering. We trust that these souls, whom we do not know, whom he does not know, will be there to greet him when he finally enters the pearly gates.
And how will he get there? He will get there through the cross. That is the purpose of this way of life of the Confraternity of Penitents. We can be like Christ through carrying our crosses. The world may have thought that suffering is worthless, that this man who died alone lived an insignificant and, in the eyes of the world, a meaningless life. But Jesus shows that such a life is filled with meaning. We see suffering not through the eyes of the world but through the sinless eyes of God. Everything changed regarding suffering because of the selfless love of God. The selfless love present in this gentle, life pledged and privately vowed penitent, brother Anthony, changes the world. I cannot even imagine the good that flows from his life, the graces that God granted the world through his suffering and his penances. I am so thankful for this man that I never knew. I am sure in his suffering the world is becoming better. We are one
step closer to heaven because of brother Anthony. May he see the renewal of penance in the world because of his dedication to it. His love and penances speak to the heart of everything holy. May God be with you, brother Anthony.
--Father Jacob Meyer, CFP Visitor
Guests in Attendence at Funeral Mass for Bill Eddy (br. Anthony), CFP