Churches take a lot of bashing these years, the Catholic Church in particular. While there have been many reasons to spotlight our concerns, there are many more dedicated clergy, staff, and volunteers performing supportive acts of service, big and small. Sadly, we read less about those helpers.
One of those clergy members is Father Tom Walsh. He came to St. Christine's in Marshfield early in 2005, just after my mother moved in with us. It was clearly and immediately evident that he was tremendously dedicated to the ill and elderly. Shortly after Mom arrived she had critical surgeries and was in hospitals and rehab facilities from February to July. Offhand, I can visualize at least ten moves Mom made from facility to facility, unit to unit, and room to room during those months. Father Tom visited her in at least nine of those rooms. He continued to visit her regularly at home (and in the hospital) for the next few years. The joy, faith, and comfort he shared with her was beyond my capabilities to describe.
In her dying weeks, he helped her to find acceptance and peace with herself and God. One of the reasons we had long wanted Mom to live with us was so that she could live out her days in a community of faith. The staff and volunteers at St. Christine's provided that in abundance. She passed away in peace. (No doubt, the morphine and Norwell VNA helped, too.) We will always be grateful for their help and Father Tom's.
Today people from St. Christine's and the town at large will gather in the church hall to celebrate his retirement – a celebration well deserved. Good job well done, sir. You will be missed but not forgotten. May your days be filled with joy, faith, peace, good health and golf.