In the Dominican religious calendar, we may if we wish celebrate Mass for our deceased parents today. So this morning, I did some reminiscing in my homily at Mass about my early life. My father was deeply devoted to the Mass, and he very often attended daily Mass. When I was a very young child, I would want to go with him since, like many young children, I woke up very early. We lived in Hammond, La., in those days, and he and I would drive from our home to the one and only Catholic church in the little town. I would watch what went on in church, and ask many questions. Especially, I wanted to know what was the man up in the front of the church giving to all the people who went to receive Holy Communion? Could I have some, too? Why not? And then, when I could understand that the man up front—he was called a priest—was giving the Body of Our Lord Jesus to those who approached him, I decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be a priest too so that I could give the Body of Jesus to those who came to me. Some time ago, in a discussion of different careers, a doctor said to me, “I figure that I have given more than one million injections during my lifetime.” And then he said to me, “How many times have you celebrated Mass in your lifetime?” It would be hard to say, but because I have been a priest for forty-six years and about ten months, that adds up to about 17,090 days, on each of which with very few exceptions, I have offered the Holy Sacrifice. But we must add to that the many times when, in parish life, I celebrated more than one Mass on a given day. So the little boy in Hammond, La., in the early ’30s is now an old man and a priest who still has the wonderful privilege of celebrating Mass every day, and he has celebrated Mass somewhere in the neighborhood of 17,500 times. I can thank my father’s beautiful example for that, and my mother’s, too, since she often told me, especially after my father’s death when I was eight years old, how much he would love to see me become a priest.
So I happily say to the Lord about my parents today, “Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.