As the Church nationwide begins tentatively to open again, I recalled on Friday, Fr Bob’s birthday, how blessed we were to celebrate his moving, faith-filled, Requiem mass just before lockdown. Reading through the Order of Service, I was drawn to a reference about Fr Bob’s devotion to the West Indian Chaplaincy in Birmingham and his enjoyment of ‘the liberating beat of the community’s steel drum band’.
The very first time I ever met him was at Canon Gerry Breen’s ordination at Sacred Heart Church in Aston. How special it was to be accompanied by the up-lifting Caribbean Music and dancing. In the sacristy, here at Saint John Fisher, there is a votive candle presented to Fr Bob and dedicated to Our Lady, with the West Indian Chaplaincy logo on it. How much we need her to shine, so that the God-given dignity of each person becomes permanently enshrined within the public consciousness of every society across the world.
Fr Bob’s mission amongst the Caribbean community, was never forgotten by the people he served and they sent a generous donation to support his charities. May we, each day, sing in our minds and heartsthe words of the offertory hymn at Fr Bob’s funeral. Let us invite Mary, the Mother of Compassion, to be with us always:
“Gentle Woman, quiet light, Morning Star, sostrong and bright,Gentle Mother, Peaceful Dove,Teach us Wisdom, teach us Love”.
Eternal rest grant unto Fr Bob O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace, Amen.
Illustration by Elizabeth Wang, T-00216B-OL, copyright © Radiant Light 2006, www.radiantlight.org.uk