Pray for the living and the dead… Comfort the afflicted… Bury the dead.

The spiritual and corporal works of mercy, all 14 of them, are good for us. These acts of love of neighbor are things the Lord expects us to do for one another in response to His immense love for us.

I realized today that I performed these works of mercy last night as I attended the Vigil for Fr. Vigil. Fr. Edwin Vigil was a 32 year-old priest of the Archdiocese of San Antonio who died tragically by drowning soon after arriving at his native country for vacation with family members.

The Service, presided by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, was so touching. Tears welled up in my eyes as soon as I walked through the doors of that standing-room-only church.

Fr. Edwin, in his short life, left his mark:

A 32 year-old who loved Christ and his priesthood, and was humble and unassuming at all times.

A 32 year-old whose short life and “untimely” death stand as a clear reminder that we are to love the Lord firmly and let Him have His way with us at all times, as we journey to the heavenly Jerusalem.

A 32 year-old whose 10 years of preparation for a mere 4 years of “active duty” on earth are a good reminder that learning, humility, patience, and personal and ministerial growth are key to making a lasting impact. We may end up doing “little” in life, but if purified and refined like silver in the furnace, we too will do “much” – positively impacting the lives of hundreds of people for decades to come.

I was happy to take the time to show my love and support to Fr. Martin Leopold, his pastor and my boss, who lost his housemate and partner in ministry and friend: “Father Edwin’s selfless and enthusiastic presence at St. John’s blessed us all with Christ’s joy and love. I lost a good friend and our parish lost a great priest.”

I was happy to show my love and support to Archbishop Gustavo who called Fr. Edwin “his son” at least twice – and, with his paternal love, invites us all to be one family of faith, united in love.

It was a privilege to be present in solidarity with the priests and the seminarians who were present as one of their own was being laid to rest.

I was happy to greet Fr. Edwin’s parents and his brother, and comfort them, sharing that, as far as I am concerned, Fr. Edwin’s ministry has not ended, but a new one has just begun as we call upon him to intercede before the throne of grace for our needs and intentions. Yes, I have already entrusted to his intercession the serious needs of two people who, like Fr. Edwin, are from El Salvador: may his intercession, along with that of the saints and all the faithful departed, bring down graces from heaven upon all who need to know El Salvador del Mundo more fully this Lenten Season.

I welcomed the opportunity to reflect, once again, on my own mortality and take a good look at the life I live, knowing that today or tomorrow it could be me – so I must live today as I wish to die tomorrow. We may die soon, young… so let’s be saints now, doing all for the greater glory of God and the good of His People!

May Fr. Edwin Vigil and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Excerpts from the Obituary (http://www.archsa.org/UserContent/file/Obituary_Father_Vigil.pdf)

Msgr. Mike Boulette, pastor of Father Vigil’s home parish, Notre Dame in Kerrville, was also his spiritual guide on his journey to the priesthood. He saw in him a young man who had no confusion or of conflict in his values. He said, “Father Edwin’s heart belonged to God, and both his personal family and his church family celebrate today that this wise man lived out Christ’s words by acting on them faithfully, building his life on the Rock that is Jesus Christ.”

Father Moses of Jesus Pillari, a classmate of Father Vigil’s at the Assumption Seminary, describing his positive personality, said, “At the seminary he was always smiling and laughing, no matter what the situation.”

Father Carlos Velásquez remembered how “the couples he guided through the process were always impressed with his humility and life‐giving advice.”

Father Vilano recalls this determined young man saying, “Well, I am ready to enter into the seminary. Let’s go!” That began nine years of formation. A long time for a young man who appeared to be in a hurry to encounter God.

Father Arturo Cepeda, rector of Assumption Seminary, addressed the current class of seminarians about Father Vigil’s death, reminded them, “Father Vigil spent more time preparing in his formation for the priesthood than he did in active ministry. During those years of formation he did minister to all of us with his openness to the Spirit, his joyful spirit, and his genuine desire to help others.”

In an interview published in the Kerrville Daily Times in 2007, Father Vigil recognized the need for his long and challenging preparation for the priesthood. He said, “The priestly identity is holistic. It involves the whole human person, psychologically, spiritually and physically… They are key to deciding whether a person is called to a ministry as a priest.” He told reporter Carlina Villalpando that those years were pivotal in his discerning his vocation. He said, “I’ve seen a lot in the last 10 years. I’ve spent countless hours praying, learning about people, and trying to understand the faith. It’s all made me a better person.” Reflecting on the untimely loss of this kind, young man of faith, we can discover our hope in the words Fr. Vigil himself spoke when describing the nature of the gift we are given when we live in God’s will, “I am at peace; I’m happy, joyful and excited.”

 Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the soul of Edwin, thy servant and Priest, may by thee be admitted to the fellowship of thy Saints in heaven, and be made partaker of eternal blessedness; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end.  Amen. Rest eternal grant unto him, O Lord; and let light perpetual shine upon him.
 

How to Avoid and Survive Rip Currents

  • Learn how to swim!
  • Never swim alone.
  • Be cautious at all times, especially when swimming at unguarded beaches. If in doubt, don’t go out!
  • Whenever possible, swim at a lifeguard protected beach.
  • Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards.
  • If caught in a rip current, remain calm to conserve energy and think clearly.
  • Don’t fight the current. Swim out of the current in a direction following the shoreline. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the rip current, float or calmly tread water. When out of the current, swim towards shore.
  • If you are still unable to reach shore, draw attention to yourself:  face the shore, wave your arms, and yell for help.
  • If you see someone in trouble, get help from a lifeguard. If a lifeguard is not available, have someone call 9-1-1. Throw the rip current victim something that floats and yell instructions on how to escape. Remember, many people drown while trying to save someone else from a rip current.

 

Rip Current MythA rip current is a horizontal current. Rip currents do not pull people under the water–-they pull people away from shore. Drowning deaths occur when people pulled offshore are unable to keep themselves afloat and swim to shore. This may be due to any combination of fear, panic, exhaustion, or lack of swimming skills.In some regions rip currents are referred to by other, incorrect terms such as rip tides and undertow. We encourage exclusive use of the correct term – rip currents. Use of other terms may confuse people and negatively impact public education efforts.

 

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