God is Good!

Seek the Lord while He may be found!

In This World But Not Of It

Rev. Anthony C.  Puchenski 1945 -2010

Rev. Anthony C. Puchenski
1945 -2010

As the school year comes to an end, Educators are exhorting their students with this motto . . . “Prepare for Life, Prepare for life.” Study diligently so one will have a means of supporting his dependents.  I agree this is a good battle cry, but there might be a better one.  Maybe this: “Prepare for death, Prepare for death.”

What life do the educators speak about? This life ends in a short number of years, even if one lives to be 70 or 80 years (or in the case of yours truly almost 96!)  The Scriptures say this life is like a flower that blooms in the morning and withers away at night.  Six years ago, I visited frequently with a former student of mine.  Father Tony was 65, and suffered from a terminal illness.  I first met him when he was 14 years old, a 1st year student at Quigley Seminary.

Our conversations were enriching to me. Father Tony told me that swallowing was becoming more difficult.  He realized that most likely he would not see the leaves falling from the trees that autumn.  When visitors would come, he would say “Good Bye” to them because he felt that he might never see them again.  Not a bad idea for all of us.  We talked about the many places where Father Tony served the Lord, His Master, faithfully for 40 years.

Yes, I am proud of Father Tony, because he prepared himself well for death. He stored up many riches in the treasure house of Heaven, little or nothing in the Bank of America.  While he preached the wisdom of serving the God to his people, he faithfully followed his own words.   I remember Father Tony calmly awaiting the final call of the Lord of Mercy.  “I accept . . . I accept” were his frequent words.

What can we tell our young people? Death is out of their range of thinking.  Tell them to store up treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor decay and destroy.  By doing everything for the love of God, all their thoughts, words and actions will turn into heavenly gold.  Their morning prayer will bring this about.

My favorite piece of music is entitled “Time To Say Good Bye”. Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, two stellar singers, sang this duet with a full orchestra.  I would play this all the time.  It would lift my spirits as never before.  I realize this will be the story of my life soon.  Father Tony loved this piece of music too.  Six years ago, it was his time to leave this world behind and go to the real life of Heaven.  In time, we will all face this same event.   Are we prepared?

Fr. George Mc Kenna

May 30, 2016 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , ,


  1. Thanks again Father – I always look forward to your posts, and hope you live another 96 years.

    Comment by Bartholomew Timm | May 31, 2016 | Reply

  2. Hi Fr. George!

    Yes, you are having a birthday soon! This week! The dear Lord has left you here with us for such a long time to help US to store up the treasures of heaven. He knows what He is doing. There will come a time when He will take you, or me, or any of your readers – we do not know when that will be… but for now, I am SO thankful that He has left you here to guide us via this blog! You have so many wonderful stories and ways for us to enlarge and store up our treasures – to prepare for death.

    And that is SO true, as a young nurse working nights in Labor and Delivery, all those years ago, I remember talking with another young nurse, and we really couldn’t fathom US being gone, dying! How childish and self-centered that we couldn’t even think about it for ourselves! I think that is how many young people feel – they will live forever! It is the nature of the young, I guess.

    Now, I think about dying probably more than most. I am interested in palliative care and am even considering making a switch to hospice nursing or at least, to volunteering. I haven’t acted on that thought, but I feel that it is calling me. I spent most of my professional career helping new life enter into this world – it seems fitting that I spend the end of my career helping others out of this world.

    This thought began when I was fortunate enough to be with my own mother during her final 4 weeks of life, being 2000 miles from her, yet, coming into town for that last month – what a blessing! And, even though I wasn’t there for her last breath, I did spend her last full night with her – and even then, thought and spoke to her (she was not aware) of how being with her was like her being in labor with me… not knowing when it would happen, not ‘rushing’ it, and that we were alone in this hospice room, just her and me, like so many years ago when it was just her and me in the labor room. I wish I could have been there when she did take her final breath, but maybe God knew that it would have been too much for me to handle. (I was just sitting down to dinner with a great friend at a restaurant when I got the call that she had left us).

    I pray that we always remember your rich advice and wonderful stories to help US prepare for when it is “Time to Say Goodbye”. A beautiful song that always gives me chills.

    I love you, dear friend! May God bless you always.


    Comment by nancywest22 | July 10, 2016 | Reply

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