The homily given at Mass, St. Hugh of Lincoln, Letchwoth Garden City, Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th May, 7th Sunday of Easter.
We have just heard the final words of Stephen, the First Martyr from the Acts of the Apostles as he gave his life and was murdered for his faith in the Lord; “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”
Our parish community is shocked and saddened at the tragic death in the early hours of Saturday morning of Kajetan, an eighteen-year-old parishioner, a former pupil at St. Thomas More, our parish primary school, an A level student at St. John Henry Newman Secondary School, with his whole life stretching out before him as he began moving away from his family and embarking on a number of adventures.
No words can adequately express our sadness and sorrow at such a sad and tragic event. And certainly, no words can easily explain why such an event happened and in the tragic way it did. All we can do, with Kajetan’s parents Gemma and Janusz and his younger brother Fabian, is to be present in our sadness as we take small steps along the road of healing and understanding.
In another context a journalist has written recently, ‘Belief helps make sense where there isn’t any; makes order out of chaos, brings life out of death.’ We, along with the writer of the Psalms and many others in the history of our Church, cry out, “God, where are you?” Where are you in this tragedy? Where are you in this moment of suffering and its aftermath? Where are you in the sadness which inevitably occurs in our own lives? How do we find our way out of seeming helplessness?
We have gathered to do one of the things which we do best, one of the only things we can do, especially when we don’t know what to do or what to say. We listen to the voice of the Lord, in his Word. Only when we have done this, will we, in a few moments, take, bless, break and share the body of the Lord among us. We do this because it comes naturally; we want to gather, to be together to pray for Kajetan, his parents, his family and his friends in their suffering and in ours.
We take, bless, break and share the body of the Lord because he commanded us to do this in memory of him. When we do so, we at least approach something of an understanding when we cry, ‘God, where are you?’ God is here among us and with all who mourn and grieve. While this doesn’t change what has happened, or bring Kajetan back, it does give us the courage, as a community of faith and love, to live through this hour, to help and support each other in our grief and loss.
We too can listen to the voice of the Lord in silence and hear him say, as he said to his disciples before his own death, “I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.”
Jimmy Garvey (Fr)
To support Kajetan’s family, please visit the GoFundMe page organised by his aunty, Corrie Everett:
Here is the beautiful prayer by Cardinal Newman that JHN’s Headteacher, Mr Clive Mathew, read to family and friends gathered at the school to remember Kajetan:
May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen.
Saint John Henry Newman
Please keep Kajetan’s family in your prayers at this unimaginably difficult time.Continue Reading