I have truly come to the conclusion that there are no coincidences in our lives … people, things, and stories are thrown in our lives for a reason. I’m just not sure what to do with any of this.
Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church is one of my two “home” parishes, and is having a three-day retreat, Monday night, last night, and ending tonight led by Daniel Sullivan. Very popular as a writer, retreat leader and mission speaker, we’ve been waiting for four years for our turn to hear Monsignor Sullivan. He told 1200 parishioners Monday that he was booked until 2017.
Monsignor Sullivan is indeed quite a riveting speaker, very engaging and animated, with a love for his priesthood and faith that I was very drawn to. I spoke with him after he was introduced at Mass on Sunday, and we agreed to meet on Wednesday morning, my day off. I was to speak with him after the Monday talk to confirm and set up a definite time. Although I did attend Monday’s talk, he was deluged afterward, and so I called him at the Crown Plaza on Tuesday and we decided on 9am in the pool courtyard overlooking the ocean.
I arrived early, and jotted down some notes about my life, Cullen, and the Camino. By 9:05, he still hadn’t come down, so I had the front desk ring his room. Seconds later a fire truck, ambulance, and 2 police card screeched to a halt under the canopy, just feet away. The EMTs ran past and to the elevator. When I asked the concierge if they were going to Father Sullivan’s room, she just looked at me like a deer in the headlights so I told her with urgency that if so, I needed to call Fr. Tony immediately. I made that call, but Fr. Tony had already been contacted by the police, and was there with Bill Gent a few minutes later.
Monsignor Daniel Sullivan died in his room last night, just hours before our meeting. I certainly have a sense of loss, as do the tens of thousands of faithful he has ministered to and would have ministered to in the next decade, but I had really just met him, so mine is not the grief others must feel. This is just another piece of a puzzle i call “my life.” I just have no idea where to put it.
I am sorry you did not get to know Fr Dan. I had the pleasure of having him as a spiritual mentor for over 2 years and he married my wife and I in 2000. He was an extraordinary priest and person, who had the ability to make clear how the sacred and normal daily life fit together. He was quite a guy. I just learned of his death today and reading your post helped fill in some gaps. I already emailed with Fr Tony. Thanks.