by Andrew Craig
“I have never been to the funeral of someone I do not know,” said one of my friends as we gathered in St. Ignatius Church. It had been awhile since I went to a funeral of someone I did not know. However, this service was different. Even though I never had the blessing to meet Reverend J. Donald Monan, S.J., I had read and heard about him enough to understand how important he was to BC and to everyone he came in contact with.
As I listened, prayed, and sang during Mass, the importance of his life was made all the more clear through the accounts of his character. Family, friends, colleagues, students, and mentees all gathered because of the love they experienced through Fr. Monan’s actions and life. One story about him stuck out to me most of all.
Fr. Monan was an avid hockey player and fan. He supported BC’s team and enjoyed going to games. One day, near the end of a game, Fr. Monan noticed a 9-year-old boy cheering for BC on the sidelines. He could see how much the boy loved hockey. As the game ended and the players went back to the locker room, Fr. Monan decided to bring the boy there to meet the men he was cheering for. He was excited to see all of the players. Fr. Monan then said to him, “This can be you one day,” to which the boy responded, “Does that mean you’re giving me a scholarship?” Fr. Monan smiled and said, “If you work hard and do well in school, we’ll see. I’ll take care of you.”
That nine-year-old boy’s name was Colin White, who is now a sophomore, playing hockey for BC. Although I do not know much about hockey, I did not have to do much research to see how great of a player Colin is and has been for quite some time.
One person can have the light and the power to change countless lives for the better. I was reminded of this after seeing St. Ignatius Church completely full on Wednesday, March 22. Funerals have the potential to be sad and upsetting when those gathered focus solely on loss and death. But they also have the potential to be inspiring and heartwarming when people gather to remember the hope and life of the one who has passed. Fr. Monan’s was a funeral of hope, inspiration, and faith, just as his life was. Although I did not personally know him, I feel like I do now.
God blesses each person with a light of his or her own. Allowing that light to shine forth for others gives the world more hope. Fr. Monan’s light continues to shine in the deep embers he left behind within the bountiful hearts he touched.