One per Person

Fr. Kevin Dillon

Fr. Kevin Dillon is the Pastor of St. Boniface Martyr Parish, Sea Cliff, Long Island, NY.

Life is a onetime offer; use it well!  This quote recently appeared on a Facebook post.  The post went on to say that July 1 has special significance for the person who posted this comment.  The authors of this post are Linda and Patrick Connolly, parishioners of St. Boniface, Martyr.  They recently moved here from Ann Arbor, MI and found our parish to be a vibrant, embracing, warm and faith filled community!

 Their son, Ryan left his parents, Linda and Patrick on this day to meet Jesus Christ face to face.  Ryan was only five years old when he died.  Ryan battled Neuroblastoma cancer for close to three years, so it is safe to say; Ryan never knew anything but cancer.  Even though his life was very short, Ryan’s life was a fruitful and productive one because he taught his parents and all of us an important lesson.  Despite numerous chemotherapy and radiation treatments and array of other medical procedures, he was able to smile, have joyous moments and be a happy child in the midst of pain and suffering.

For any parent to lose a child is a heart wrenching and traumatic experience, but Linda and Patrick took a cue from their son and remained optimistic and faith filled.  They travelled frequently from Michigan to New York City so their son could receive the best treatment possible at a renowned hospital, Sloan Kettering.  Since Ryan’s death, Patrick and Linda have shed many tears and relived painful and difficult moments.  After all, who wouldn’t?  However, rather than letting grief consume them they used their faith, trust and belief in Jesus Christ to move forward knowing with utter conviction they will see him again someday free from cancer!

His mom and dad posted a beautiful picture on Facebook with Ryan and his dad.  The little guy is in a hospital bed with what appears to be machines at his bedside and yet, he is jumping up for joy with as much or even more enthusiasm as any other four or five year old.  As adults we sometimes think children don’t get it, but I dare say, sometimes they get it more than adults!  Think of Jesus’ own words, “Unless you become like little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”

You will remember, if you read last week’s article, I wrote on regrets, and sometimes not having second chances.  Immediately after I sent my article to the bulletin editor, this post appeared on my Facebook news feed.  I commented to Linda how true her post was, especially the quote  about LIFE BEING A ONE TIME OFFER and how ironic it was that what I said in last week’s article and her post being very similar and yet WE NEVER PREVIOUSLY DISCUSSED ANY OF THIS.  Obviously, there is only one logical and faith filled reason.  THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS AT PLAY!  IT IS NOT JUST AN EERRIE OR FREAKISH COINCIDENCE!  In case anyone is wondering Linda and Patrick gave me permission to tell their story.

I think a quote from another spiritual leader, although not of our faith sums it up succinctly.  He said, “There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done.  One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe and do and MOSTLY BELIEVE!” (Dali Lama).

Fr. Kevin’s letter appears each week in print and online in the St. Boniface Martyr Parish Bulletin.

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