Spirit & Life: Notes on a Friend’s Funeral


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Dear Deacon John,

I pray you are having blessed Eastertide.

As you know, this is a bittersweet time for the HLI family. Having lost our friend and mentor, Monsignor Barreiro, on Holy Thursday, it has been a time of mourning even as we remember his courageous life during the most triumphant season of the Liturgical Year.

On Easter Monday I traveled to Norwalk, Connecticut with Dr. Brian Clowes and our network manager, John Fusto. The next morning we were due to participate in Monsignor Barreiro’s Requiem Mass and internment in Saint John’s Cemetery in Norwalk.

The Requiem Mass and sacred music were beautiful! Monsignor, who planned his services, would have been very pleased. Anyone who knew him knew of the reverence he had for the Mass, especially in its traditional form, and how he valued the solemnity and precision of a Mass celebrated well.

Monsignor Barreiro’s Requiem Mass
The Mass was well attended by Monsignor’s friends and the parishioners of Saint Mary’s Parish. I was very happy to see so many people.

After our return, I spoke with the Dominican Sisters at Rosary Hill Home, where Monsignor was cared for at the end of his life, to thank them for their care of Monsignor. Despite the short length of his stay with the Sisters, Monsignor made a lasting impression on them and the staff. The Sisters shared stories about Monsignor’s prayerfulness, humility and heroic example during his end-of-life journey. One Sister said he gave a powerful witness to the power of trusting God. They were happy to be of service during his final days, just as we are deeply grateful for their kindness and faithfulness in their vocation.

It has been a difficult time for the HLI family with many deaths of family members over the last couple of months. Not too long ago we published a reflection from Dr. Joseph Meaney on the end of his father’s life called “A Good Death.” The same could be said of Monsignor’s passing, as he had much time to prepare, and impressed many people with his willingness to seek treatment, while totally trusting in God’s will for him and praying for peace and acceptance. When it became clear that the end of his earthly journey was near, he was at great peace, and was even able to receive some visitors, including his long time friend, Raymond Cardinal Burke.

Cardinal Burke knew well his friend’s love for the Holy Mass and his passion for the defense of life-traits which they both shared in great measure.

I think it could be fairly said that Monsignor had a good death, one that as a scholar and faithful Catholic he learned as an art from his study of the saints and from his service to others. I think there is an art to dying, which is harmonious with the art of living, both requiring in the end that each of us put God first and conform our will to His.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
Send a reminder: Catholic=Pro-Life!
MsgrBarreiro121x96Reflections on Monsignor Barreiro’s life and death, from friends and colleagues, including recent submissions from Raymond Cardinal Burke and HLI’s international directors. – continue  –
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