From the Rector
Alleluia, Christ is Risen! It was not the Holy Week and Easter that I expected. On Palm Sunday, I was ready to replay the sacred story and walk the path of Jesus through crucifixion to resurrection. That changed early on Wednesday morning when my mom called to tell me that my dad had been taken to the hospital with internal bleeding. For nearly 15 years, my dad has struggled through the effects of Alzheimer’s and has not been aware of his surroundings for the past 4-5 years. Through most of that struggle, my mom cared for him at home. He was admitted to a care facility where he received excellent care for the past six months.
He had carefully spelled out his wishes, so on Wednesday, when his physical condition changed, we knew that he would want nature to take its course through hospice. Initially, the doctors thought he had a month or two to live, but on Thursday night, after the Maundy Thursday service at St. Patrick’s, my mom called to tell me that he had taken a turn and they didn’t expect him to live much longer. I flew to Omaha on Friday morning and got to spend many hours with him before he died at around 7pm on Good Friday. During my flight back to Washington on Saturday, I wrote a sermon for Easter with my dad’s life weighing heavily on me. I offered it at St. Patrick’s as a way to look at Easter in a spirit of hope. If you were away, I invite you to listen online.
I want to thank the entire parish for supporting me and my family during this challenging time. I want to say special thank you to the Rev. Dr. Larry Packard who filled in for me on Good Friday, and Michael Palmisano, Karen Melchar and Adele Lynch for adjusting their lives to allow me to be in Omaha at the end of my dad’s life.
Please keep the soul of Ernie Gerhard and those who grieve his death especially Deanna Gerhard and me in your prayers this week. I truly am grateful for the love and support of the St. Patrick’s family. The memorial service for my dad will be on April 14 at 11am at St. James Episcopal Church in Fremont, Nebraska.
In other news, I encourage everyone to complete the survey created by Jo Anne Nelson on behalf of the Vestry. We need your input, so click here to participate. Also know that this Sunday at 11:45, David Chipman from Giffords (The Gabby Gifford's Foundation) will be at St. Patrick’s to facilitate a conversation about guns and gun policy. This offering is a continuation of the March for Our Lives. On April 15, we begin a four-part series titled, “Finding Peace”. It begins with a talk by parishioner Mona Hanford about her book The Graceful Exit. See below for more information.
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