Greenans

Fr. Peter Daly

Parish Diary

June 27, 2006

 

            The Greenan family has moved away. I will miss them.

             In every parish there are some families that touch your heart. If they move away, they leave a big hole in our community life. The Greenans are such a family.

            We will miss seeing Ed and Vicki, and their ten children, all lined up in their regular pew (second from the rear) every Sunday at 8 AM. (How do you get ten children up for 8 AM mass?)

            I will miss seeing their girls Andrea, Carolyn, and Rachel, serving on the altar. They are the most attentive servers ever, always tuned in to the liturgy and anticipating the next move.

            I will miss seeing six year old Michael, our littlest usher, in his bow tie and sports coat, proudly displaying his ushers badge; “Michael Greenan --- Usher.” Our other ushers, some in their eighties, adopted Michael as their own. People smiled when he seated them, asking others to slide over in the pew. When Michael passed the basket he expected a deposit. Perhaps all the ushers should be six years old.

            I will miss seeing cheerful Ruslan roll down the aisle in his wheelchair and bow profoundly from the waist when he received the Eucharist.

            I will miss seeing the little professor, five year old Simeon, in his big eyeglasses. He skips along on a deformed leg which never slows him down. He is always the first to the doughnut table after mass.

            I will miss quite Nicole with big eyes and dark skin, whispering to her sisters and shaking hands at the sign of peace.

            I will miss seeing Erik on his father’s shoulder and David and Alexandra shepherded along by their mother. Vicki always made her kids fold their hands across their chests when they came up for a blessing at communion. She steered them by turning their heads.

            The Greenans are not just remarkable because they have ten children. They are remarkable because six of their children are adopted. They come from various countries; Russia, Estonia, and Bulgaria. One was abandoned at a hospital in Baltimore.

            All of their adoptive children are special needs kids. Each has some sort of physical handicap. Their medical bills must be astounding.

            Somehow Ed and Vicki manage to make life more than secure. For the Greenans it is an adventure. If you are part of the Greenan clan, something good is always about to happen.

            Ed and Vicki have found their true vocation in marriage and parenting.  

            Ed is a jeweler, a partner in a family business. He works long hours. Vicki gave up professional life to nurture children.

            Once they were on the track of young professionals. Then they discovered all the kids in the world who needed care. Things changed. No more boat. No more sports car. The minivan became a maxi van.

            Vicki is the general. Like the nuns of old, she commands respect with a raised finger. Somehow she found time to co-ordinate our lectors and our servers. Every Wednesday she came up to Eucharistic adoration with one or two children in her wake. The kids sat their quietly for an hour while Mom prayed.

            I wish I could bottle what they have. They have figured out what life is for. It is for love.

            God’s love is like Ed and Vicki’s, it always sets another place at the table.

            Their family is an example of the best ideals of Catholic family life. It is something noble, good, and joyful.

            Sometimes I think the best homilies are preached from the pew, not the pulpit. For a long time the pew, second from the back at 8 AM, has been an eloquent sermon filled up with Greenans.  

            It is silent now.

            The Greenans have moved away. I will miss them.