Today's post is in honor of my favorite Irishman who unfortunately passed away in late February as the result of an accidental fall. Father Michael O'Rourke (Father Mike) was Pastor at St. Mary Parish where we attended for years before recently moving away this past Fall. He was a wonderful friend and mentor, counseled us through many ups and downs, married me and my husband and baptized our daughter. He will forever hold a special place in our hearts and although he is no longer with us on this earth, we know we have gained a very special Guardian Angel in Heaven. Please take a minute to read a very special article about Father Mike and how he connected people together throughout the Valley area. You'll get a sense of how many people's lives he really did touch - over 1500 attended his funeral services and the local newspaper was kind enough to broadcast the services via internet to allow over 1700 people from multiple locations in the state, country and four continents watch it as well.
He always told us that Jesus was our best friend. No matter what happens, Jesus is there for us and loves us. One of my favorite stories he would share was the story about the lightbulb. He told this story to many of the children and it was a great analogy I plan to share with my daughter as I teach her about Jesus and our faith. Father Mike would take a regular old lightbulb and ask the children how he could turn it on. He would then stick it in his ear or under his arm...and look puzzled as to why it wasn't turning on. He would explain that we can't be a light to others or the light that Jesus wants us to be without being connected. Connected? Yes, connected...as he would then get an extension cord and add that to the lightbulb base...we need to be connected to Jesus Christ to let His light shine through us. What a great analogy...I can hear him telling it and see him acting it out.
He also would talk about the importance of the 'dash'. What is the dash, you ask? Father Mike said that your dash should not be about the material things you have in life like the house you live in or the type of car you drive...but what is important is what happens during your dash...meaning between the time you arrived on this earth to the time you leave. How will you fill your dash? How will others talk about your 'dash'? Another important and invaluable lesson I hope to teach my daughter by example. I can guarantee you, Father Mike's 'dash' will be remembered forever fondly by many, many people by how much he selflessly gave to his community and by the example of Christ he was to us.
I feel so very lucky and blessed to have had him in my life for so long, and I hope and pray that I can be an inspiration and light to others as he was to me. We all THANK YOU Father Mike for the blessings and inspiration you have shown us and given to us. We will miss you dearly! Happy St. Patrick's Day - celebrate the day in Heaven!!!