Over the past few weeks my thoughts and prayers have constantly been with Sybil Morris, and her two sons, Michael and Piers, as they continue to mourn the loss of our parish deacon, Alan Morris. All families have to go through the painful experience of loss and grief, and it is one which is never easy. But today I would like to reflect that the recent death of Alan was one that affected more than just his immediate family and friends. It is a death for our whole parish of Holy Redeemer since Alan served as a deacon here for such a long time and is known to almost all of us.
The Requiem Mass for Alan Morris was held on 19th February here at Holy Redeemer. That date also marked the 26th anniversary of his ordination to the diaconate which took place here at our lovely Church. Some people might think that this is a remarkable coincidence. But it might equally be read as a little sign from God that there is a shape and purpose to every human life!
Although I had known Alan for many years, unfortunately I never had the privilege of working with him as parish priest here. But all the Redemptorists in the community here have spoken of the way that Alan faithfully but quietly served the parish in so many ways. They have noted that, quite apart from his public appearances serving as a deacon at our liturgical services, most of his real work as a deacon took place quietly in his visits to the sick and the elderly, and through a real personal commitment to serving the needs of the poor in our midst.
In the last year of his life Alan was no longer able to publicly serve our parish due to the fact of increasing sickness and incapacity. He had to endure a long journey of suffering and increasing weakness before he reached his final end. Throughout that difficult journey he was lovingly cared for by Sybil his wife, and his sons. In my view, his prolonged time of suffering also served as a form of pastoral ministry. In that sense, Alan’s service as a deacon, ministering to the parish, continued till the moment of his death. It is good that we remember Alan and his family in our prayers. It is right that Alan Morris should always be part of the memory of the parish of Holy Redeemer.
Fr Gerard, CSsR