Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brother Kelly Cullen ofm (1953-2010)

It’s a beautiful, picture-perfect Sunday morning here in Oceanside, California. There’s a breath of chill in the air letting us know that our winter is on its way. Still, the sun is high in the sky—warm with the promise of another beautiful day. We are so blessed to live here.

As some of you may have already learned, one of our Franciscan friars here at the parish and Old Mission San Luis Rey—Brother Kelly Cullen ofm—died suddenly while on pilgrimage in Italy last week. He was 57 years old. We just received the news on Saturday (November 13), so we don’t have any details to provide you yet. As soon as we learn more, we will keep you informed. In the meantime, please pray for the repose of the soul of our brother—and for God’s consolation and peace for his family and family of friends, of whom there are a great many. Thank you.

For those of you who knew Brother Kelly (in addition to his responsibilities as program director at the Retreat Center, he served as a lector and Eucharistic Minister at the Parish), you will agree that he was a real force of nature. Spontaneous, open, frank, kind and deeply generous, he touched so many people with his humor, his honesty, and his love of the Lord and his love of Life itself. We will all miss his beautiful voice and his nearly infallible recall of almost every film and show tune know to humankind.

We his brothers are still reeling from the shock. Please keep us in your prayers as well.

Before he left for Italy with Kay Sempel, one of our devoted lay Covenant volunteers here at San Luis Rey—they were scouting out hotels, restaurants and sites for a group he was hoping to lead—Brother Kelly wrote this note to his friends. I would like to share it with you:

Praise be You my Lord for my Sisters and Brothers
So Generous and Good to me,
Abounding in Love and Kindness
Showing me Your Most Holy Face.
These, Your Special Children
I shall hold close on my journey
To the town of Francis and Clare
And as the dawn light Seeks to Praise You,
As the sunsets fly Your Brilliance,
As I sit in silence before You at Your Saints’ Tombs,
I shall Lift them Up to You, O Most Holy God
And pray You bless them and all their loved ones
Blessing them with All the Daily Bread they need:
For Life!

May God’s Light Shine on You, Brother Kelly.
And may you rest in peace.