Fr. Jim Prior, CM – We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe

We Remember, We Celebrate, We Believe

There are probably few parishes that have not sung  Marty Haugen’s 1996 “We remember, We Celebrate, We Believe”.

The words took on new meaning thanks to Fr. Greg Cozzubbo’s homily at the Mass of the Resurrection for Father Jim Prior.

As he pointed out,“We go way back” to the days when Father came to Roseto – OLMC parish and Pius X High School in 1964. ” I was 7 years old at that time.” He shared how a few years later Fr. Jim had called four boys into his office inviting them to a vocation retreat, (Three of the four went on to ordination.)

Fifty-five years later it was Fr. Greg’s turn to welcome him to Saint Catherine’s Infirmary.

‘Father Jim came to Saint Catherine’s in February of this year to continue his rehab that he started at Holy Family Manor in Bethlehem.  And so I welcomed him and asked him if he needed anything to make his time here easy and comfortable.  He asked me 3 things – what time do we celebrate Mass?; do you get the Yankees station on TV?; and can I get a Gin and Tonic while I’m here?

In the more than half a century it might be asked how many Catholics in the Bangor/Rosetto area he baptized, educated, married and buried. Always with a sense of humor, in a recent interview for CAMM magazine he responded to a question about his longevity with a one-liner…. “”I think my warranty is wearing out.”

There were so many things to remember as was evident in sharing art the prayer service the night before the funeral

Fr. Greg continued

We are also here – even in the midst of sadness – to celebrate the new life for Fr. Jim – his new life living in the fullness of God’s glory. And we are reminded of this new life in the scriptures that we just heard.  The first reading from Isaiah tells us that God has looked to save us, to care for us and to love us.  God wipes away every tear from our eyes with the promise that we will be made new.
His whole life was a preparation celebrating the fullness of life.

And there is one more reason we are here today – to strengthen our belief – our belief that one day we will be with Fr. Jim again.

Now we simply say “Thank you!”

For more background on his life visit a recent reflection in the semi-annual publication of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal.

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