Remembering a good and faithful servant



On the afternoon of the Feast of Pentecost, I paid my respects to the family of a man who helped teach me the meaning of humility — a man who touched the lives of many with a faith lived truly and always in service to Christ, his Church, and to anyone who crossed his path. While the Gospel that Sunday spoke of the fiery descent of the Holy Spirit on those first disciples, this man — Tony DiSaia of SS. Rose and Clement Parish — showed us less dramatic ways in which the Holy Spirit works: daily, humble, and simple acts of love. Quick to smile and even quicker to pray, Tony and his equally faith-filled wife Mary were two of the first parishioners of SS. Rose and Clement Parish that helped me in my return to the faith when I first began attending Mass in 1999 after several decades wandering in the desert of agnosticism.
Tony’s funeral was held in a packed church with no less than six priests and three deacons. It was a Monday morning, bright with a warm sun made brighter with memories of a good and faithful servant. It was the Feast of Mary, Mother of the Church in a year dedicated to St. Joseph — a fitting day for the funeral of a man who brought so much light and life into the world with his devotion to St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother. What has moved me to write this letter is not that Tony needs the attention or would have wanted it. It is we, the living, that need something from him: his example of humility and his unquenchable joy, which comes from a life of prayer and service. Such qualities are the products of true faith and they all lead others to Christ — as they did for me all those years ago. If you and I are serious about evangelizing our godless world — if we truly want to preach the gospel and get on with the work of saving souls — then we have no greater teachers than people like Tony. For it is their example of humility, joy and prayer that allow the Holy Spirit to send forth its fires of love and renew the face of the earth — one smile, one prayer, and one kind word at a time.

William Patenaude, West Warwick


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