Posted by: fvbcdm | January 16, 2012

Feast of Saint James of Tarentaise (16 Jan 2012)

This morning in the New Orleans obituaries I found the name of an old friend of mine. Art Leto and I were students at Loyola University together, and became good friends.  In the summer of 1948, he and I were invited to go with another Loyola student and two of his relatives to go with them to Mexico.  It was a wonderful three-week trip which we all thoroughly enjoyed and about which I have very happy memories to this day.

After we graduated from college, Art and I went our separate ways.  He married five years later, and I went into the navy during the Korean conflict.  Only once after that did Art and I ever see one another again.  During the 70s, I was pastor of Saint Dominic parish in New Orleans, and was conducting a wedding rehearsal.  When I was introduced to the young people in the wedding party, there was a groomsman named Leto.  I asked if he was related to my old Loyola friend, Art.  Art was his father!  So I asked the young man to tell his dad that I wanted very much to see him when he came to the wedding the following night.  Art came back to the sacristy, and we had a great reunion after about 25 years. I remember so well that during our college days and the trip to Mexico, Art often teased me by calling me a rather vulgar name which amused me.  So that night, in the sacristy, Art, was a 47-year old man, talking to a priest whom he had known for years.  I couldn’t resist the temptation to remind him of that name that he used to call me those years ago.  And he seemed thoroughly embarrassed by it; but I assured him that he wasn’t going to hell because he used that expression about a college friend who was now a priest! 

 

That’s the last time I ever saw Art.  And now he is gone—to heaven, I trust.  And I am here praying for him and being grateful to God and to Art for lots of fun and very happy memories of those days when I was eighteen and Art was twenty. Art died two days ago, when he was 84 and I am 82.  I think you can imagine the kinds of thoughts and feelings that come to me as I think of this event.  Because he was of Italian extraction and we traveled together in Mexico and spoke some Spanish, I can say to him, “Arrivederci, Arturo” and “Hasta la vista, amigo.”  And I can also ask his prayers for me. Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

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