Friday, February 22, 2013

Life of prayer at core of Bishop D'Arcy's 'priestly heart'
By Kay Cozad  -  2/22/2013
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- At the core of the late Bishop John M. D'Arcy's "priestly heart" was the "intimate dialogue that is the life of prayer," said the homilist at the funeral Mass of the former head of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

"Prayer, daily, intimate conversation and communion with the Lord Jesus, the heart of the life of any believer, was central to (the) bishop's preaching, his work as a spiritual director, and his devotion to spiritual development and parish mission work," said Msgr. Michael Heintz.

Bishop D'Arcy, who had headed the diocese for 25 years before he retired in 2010, was remembered for his love of the priesthood and the love he had for the people of the diocese.

His funeral was celebrated Feb. 8 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Fort Wayne. He died Feb. 3 at age 80.

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades, current head of the diocese, was the main celebrant of the funeral Mass. Other bishops from across the country and state who concelebrated were Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis, retired Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes of New Orleans and Bishop Daniel R. Jenky of Peoria, Ill., a former Fort Wayne-South Bend auxiliary bishop.

"How many times, at the end of a long day, would he come over from his office to this beautiful cathedral he restored, to spend some quiet moments in prayer, alone, in silence, finding here, in the presence of the One he knew loved him, both solace and strength?" Msgr. Heintz recalled of the late bishop.

He spoke about how Bishop D'Arcy celebrated his first Mass at Our Lady of the Presentation Church in Brighton, Mass., "the church where he had been brought by his immigrant parents for baptism, where he was plunged into the mystery of Christ's dying and rising, a mystery that every celebration of the Eucharist makes present and tangible."

"This central act of his daily life as a priest was to format his every duty and pastoral task," said Msgr. Heintz, rector of St. Matthew Cathedral in South Bend.

Whether as his first assignment as a new priest, ordained in 1949 for the Boston Archdiocese, or as an Indiana bishop, "at the center of his priestly life was the Mass, that unparalleled encounter with Christ in word and sacrament" said the priest.

"For two millennia, the triad of dialogue, word and Eucharist has comprised the pattern of Catholic worship," he added.

To the end, Bishop D'Arcy exercised "the 'munus propheticum' entrusted to the successors of the apostles."

"Even from his sickbed, (the) bishop was teaching us, like Blessed John Paul II, the meaning of the Mass, the meaning of our baptism; he was teaching us how to die," Msgr. Heintz said. "A priest of Jesus Christ to the end, he offered himself back to God and he died with the same love and generosity with which he exercised his ministry."

He said Bishop D'Arcy "had a profound understanding of and reverence for the office of bishop -- rooted in his deep and obvious love for the priesthood -- as a sacred, indeed spousal, trust. And second, he was simultaneously and almost singularly devoid of pretense about or ambition for that office."

Msgr. Heintz also noted that the bishop was "genuinely interested in every person he met; he had an incredible memory for detail and a command of names."

At the close of the Mass, Bishop Rhoades incensed the bishop's body as the congregation sang "Come to His Aid."

Bishop Rhoades extended sympathy to D'Arcy family members and expressed gratitude for the outpouring of love and prayers for his predecessor.

In a private ceremony, Bishop D'Arcy's body was entombed in the crypt of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
Bishop John M. D’Arcy was an exceptional priest as well as a wonderful friend, neighbor, Red Sox fan, and Brighton, MA native at heart. His parents home was directly across the street from the home in which my late wife, Theresa and I brought up our family. On his annual trips to Boston, he would often drop in to say hello to his neighbors from the “old home town”. He was  very proud of his Irish parents and the heritage and traditions they instilled in him and his siblings from childhood. His father’s home in Ireland was only a short distance from where Theresa was born and spent her childhood years before emigrating to  the U.S. so we had many conversations with the Bishop about Ireland while sitting on our front porch with a cup of tea.
In 2004, when the AOH honored Fr. Theodore Hesberg, the President Emeritus of Notre Dame University, Bishop D’Arcy joined us for the banquet in South Bend and spoke glowingly about his friend, Fr. Hesberg. Bishop D’Arcy will always be remembered in Boston, not only as a native son but also as a fearless spokesperson for the rights of children who suffered abuse at the hands of some Catholic clergymen.
In short, Bishop John M. D’Arcy epitomized all that a Catholic priest should be and will be sorely missed in both his home town of Boston and his adopted home in the Diocese of Ft. Wayne – South Bend.
Go ndeana Dia trocaire ar Easpag Sean D’Arcy agus go dtuga Dia suaimnheas siorai a anam.
Jack Meehan, Past National President
Ancient Order of Hibernians in America
Knights of Columbus – 4th Degree

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