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Remembering Fr. Bernard


Today we buried
our brother Bernard Finerty
in the snow days of January,
with snow banks raising
the Alleluias of liturgy
in fuller luster,
with the best and happiest part
a meditation recording
of Bernard as troubadour,
exuberant in his own delight
of a song presenting God
as all, and forever happiness.

The homilist,
a former Latin enthusiast
of professor Father Bernard,
made capital of teaching days,
of contentment,
and satisfaction in his work,
performing his assignment
with gusto,
enthralled to dare
help shape the minds
of eager students
preparing for the ministries
of priesthood.

With developing pedagogue
the minor seminary terminated,
with a century of service,
and the Latin professor needed
employment after twenty years.
To Bernard it seemed like the loss
of twenty years of life.
the friar remained in place,
in charge of the retreat center
developed from seminary buildings.

So Bernard took charge,
creative enough
to compose his own hymns,
accompanying himself on a guitar,
producing swinging homilies
instead of simply stirring ones.
In eight short years
the center closed down,
because the place was being sold,
as though from under Friar Bernard,
whose comfort zone
kept shattering on future plans.

Each time poor Bernard
was left stranded,
or adrift without a tiller.
In later years
the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
explained the shattering loss
and devastation,
as though the friar’s underpinnings
were being cut,
while all along
his greatest ministry
was the courage to try again,
to demonstrate his trust in Jesus
by his ongoing hope to serve him
as his happy troubadour.

January 28, 2015
Bonaventure Stefun, OFM Cap.

       Thanks to Dr. Paula Calabrese, we have some remembrances of Fr. Bernard in his days as retreat director at St. Fidelis in Herman, PA -- a place that was dear to him and where he became dear to us . . .

Click the photo to enlarge the slideshow

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Capuchin Friars  ♦  Province of St. Augustine  ♦  220—37th Street  ♦  Pittsburgh, PA 15201  ♦  (412) 682-6011