Dad’s Funeral Mass

Here is the Mass for my father’s funeral, if anyone missed it and would like the contents:

Funeral Mass for Dad
Arthur B. Kiley
April 10, 1919 – September 1, 2011
St. Theresa of Avila Church
West Roxbury, MA
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
11:30 a.m.

Main Celebrant: Msgr. William Helmick
Concelebrants: Fr. Bill Lohan, Fr. Andreas Davison, Fr. Peter Nolan, Fr. Israel Rodriguez,
Fr. Edward Riley, Fr. Michael Barber SJ, Fr. Tom Carzon, OMV

Readers: John Lohan, First Reading and Prayers of the Faithful
Michael Leone, Second Reading

Gift Bearers: James Kiley and John Curry
Eulogy: Jerome Kiley
Musicians: Lila Cleary, organist

Processional Hymn:
Be Not Afraid
1. You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.

Be not afraid.
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.

2. If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side, know that
I am with you through it all. R…

3. Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me, blessed, blessed are you! R…

First Reading:
A Reading from the Book of Job (Job 19:1,23-27)
Then Job answered and said: 
Oh, would that my words were written down! 
Would that they were inscribed in a record: 
That with an iron chisel and with lead 
they were cut in the rock forever! 
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, 
and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; 
Whom I myself shall see: 
my own eyes, not another’s, shall behold him, 
And from my flesh I shall see God;
my inmost being is consumed with longing.
He has made everything beautiful in its time; also he has put eternity into man’s mind, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm:
R. (42:2) Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Athirst is my soul for God, the living God.
When shall I go and behold the face of God?
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
I went with the throng
and led them in procession to the house of God,
Amid loud cries of joy and thanksgiving,
with the multitude keeping festival.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Send forth your light and your fidelity;
they shall lead me on
And bring me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling-place.
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.
Then will I go in to the altar of God,
the God of my gladness and joy;
then will I give you thanks upon the harp,
O God, my God!
R. Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul longs for you, my God.

Second Reading:
A Reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor 15:51-57)
Brothers and sisters:
Behold, I tell you a mystery.
We shall not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,
in an instant, in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
the dead will be raised incorruptible,
and we shall be changed.
For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility,
and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality.
And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:

Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of the Lord

If we die with Christ, we shall live with him; if we are faithful to the end, we shall reign with him.

A Reading from the Holy Gospel According to John (Jn 14:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still,
and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s house; if there were not, I
should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have
gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where
I am you may be too. You know the way to the place I am going.” Thomas said,
“Lord, we do not know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father
except through me.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Offertory Hymn:
Ave Maria
Ave Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Maria Gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum

Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui Jesus

Communion Hymn:
Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
1. Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
our full homage to demand.

2. King of kings, yet born of Mary,
as of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
in the body and the blood;
he will give to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.

3. Rank on rank the host of heaven
spreads its vanguard on the way,
as the Light of light descendeth
from the realms of endless day,
that the powers of hell may vanish
as the darkness clears away.

4. At his feet the six-winged seraph,
cherubim, with sleepless eye,
veil their faces to the presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia,
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Recessional Hymn:
Christ Be Beside Me
1. Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me King of my heart;
Christ within me, Christ below me,
Christ above me never to part.

2. Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me shield in strife;
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising light of my life.

3. Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me King of my heart;
Christ within me, Christ below me,
Christ above me never to part.

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring (Instrumental)


Thank you, to everyone for all your prayers and support, with all the priests here I don’t think I have time to thank everyone individually, and thank you everyone for coming and supporting us.
My father really had a simple life. He loved sports, the ocean, his family and friends, he loved nature and history, especially the history of peoples, and he had a way of sticking to those things and staying out of the complicated stuff. He was a gentleman to everyone, and almost every person that got to know him at the nursing home in PA where he spent his last eight months said that: he was a gentleman.

But I think if you were to ask my father what really characterized him behind all that, he would say, a fighter. He was a WWII vet who served in the Navy in the pacific, in the Philippines, New Zealand, at Guadal Canal. He was a sailor, a watchman, and transport boat driver. He was a great storyteller. You put the two together and one of his favorite things to do was tell war stories. And they’ve been corroborated! My father also boxed in the Navy, and he was a big boxing fan. The first Christmas gifts I remember from him was a set of boxing gloves for me and my brother, and the training had begun. See, the jab is the left, and that’s used to keep the opponent off balance and at a distance while you move around. The right protects during the jab, but the power is in the right, and the jab is a set up. The right is the one that can knock out.

Now, even though he’s a fighter, my brother and I can tell you that he never won a fight with my mother. They were always together. My father and mother were always together. In the home after work, in the care of my sister Lisa and raising the family, after the kids had left the next in shopping, vacation, exercising, and especially, watching the Red Sox.

When my mother died, it was a very hard time for him. Now, my father had great vision as a watchman in the Navy, and after my mother died, I think he could see death on the horizon. So what did he do? He started to fight. But he needed his sons.

So, he went down to Virginia to live with Larry and Katie and experience the birth of his first grandchild, Anna. He would give her a lift, and she would give him a lift, all the joy and smiles and brightness she brought to his life. He was spending time living a family life with my brother and his wife, who were taking care of him and giving him all they could. I could see him jabbing at death and living life, and he needed his son to do it.

Then his kidneys failed around New Year’s and he entered skilled nursing at a great retirement community in PA. He had a roommate who was like looking in the mirror, and he had the support of a great community. Larry and Katie would visit him and support him in his care, and little Anna became a great light in his life. He would put her in his lap and get wheeled down the corridor and be the center of attention. He lifted her up, and she lifted him up. And he had to fend off the women: One of the women said to me at the end, “All the old ladies think he’s handsome.” He was jabbing at death and living life, and he needed his son to do it.

Finally last month his kidneys failed again. And I think he could see it was time. He needed a right hand.

My time over the last number of years has been spent leaving everything and everyone and going a different way, that way that God has called me, to follow Jesus Christ. It’s taken me into a lot of prayer, and it’s also taken me into a lot of unpopular places to minister to many people: hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, to the homeless and the poorest places, especially to the dying, and most recently to Ecuador to some of the poorest people in the world.

Last month I was in Ecuador and I got an email from my brother that I should come back as soon as possible after the trip. I was with Fr. Bill was with me, and just after I got the email we went with the local priest on a two hour drive to visit a tiny village. So we get into a rugged little Jeep thing and we’re off curving around the edges of 4000 foot mountains, up and down with spots of slippery sand and spots with giant hole and ditches, across a river, winding our way through a maze of giant boulders that had fallen down from the mountain onto the roadway, bouncing around this jeep with our heads all over the place until finally, you could the end of the road in the distance and this tiny village on the edge of a steep cliff. The priest: “That’s where we’re going. To the end of the road.” When we got there, we pulled up and 25 children surrounded the jeep with the greatest joy and love. There was power. In that village there’s a little electricity, no computers, cell phones, no internet, no plumbing, no cars, no restaurants, no Dunkin Donuts, no Red Sox, no Facebook or email, no war, no offices, everything is stripped away. There’s only love. Fr. Bill and I looked at each other, and the only thing we could say to each other is, “This is heaven.”

When I got to PA, I visited my father, and told him what happened. I said, “Dad I’ve been to the end of the road. Everything’s stripped away, the people have nothing, but they are full of love. It’s amazing. It’s awesome. Dad, don’t be afraid to go, don’t be afraid to leave and go, Mom’s waiting for you your mother Catherine, a lot of people are waiting for you with a great love. Dad, I’ve been to the end of the road, it’s gonna be great.”

He needed to see the poverty, the homelessness, no wife or kids, the weakness and vulnerability, the unpopularity, everything stripped away and all the wounds of the heart that go with it. And he needed to see the joy, the excitement, the hope, the confidence, the look of love and peace in my eyes when the darkness of death is giving its blows and has him on the ropes. He needed to see it in his own son, in his own flesh and blood, to give him a new right hand, with divine power, the right hand of the Father, for one last punch. To knock out death.

My father has left everything and has gone the way that God has called him. He’s finishing the journey. And each of us can look forward to that when it’s our turn to leave everyone and everything behind and go. That some very special people are waiting for each of us, my father will be waiting for each us. He’ll have his greatest war story to tell us. It’ll be great to see him again at the end of the road.

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