Father Sam Restivo delivers funeral homily for Brother Lloyd Michaud CR
Mass of Christian Burial Brother Lloyd Michaud, CR Funeral Homily by Fr. Sam Restivo, C.R. St. Agatha Church, St. Agatha, ON March 18, 2011
For those of you who really knew Brother Lloyd, you would know that he was a man who clearly spoke his mind, was an exacting person, and a straight shooter. No one was ever left with doubts about where Lloyd stood on any given issue. I remember attending, for the first time, a provincial chapter. It was a very hot and humid summer day. There were about 25 of us in a small room with no air conditioning. The agenda was full of items about our life and work. Lloyd was quiet throughout the meeting until the topic of care for our retired members came up.
A number of people offered their options and there was quite an exchange of thoughts and ideas. When the Chair asked if anyone else wanted to add anything, Lloyd put up his hand. He walked over to the microphone and offered his thoughts and ideas in very few words, but words that left you speechless! I remember the room becoming completely filled with silence. He was straight forward, matter of fact, and exacting about his care and concern for our retired members entrusted to his care as their local leader. He knew their needs, and did everything in his power to make sure they received the best care possible.
I saw Lloyd, that day, as a man willing to stand up for his principles and for a worthwhile cause. In this sense, Lloyd often presented himself as a powerful man; yet, inside he possessed a very gentle heart. So you can image how devastating these last four weeks must have been for him by not knowing what was going on in his body given the physical symptoms he was experiencing, the lack of clarity that surrounded him, the inexactness of his situation, and the ambiguity that was unfolding day after day all of which left him with the inability to take charge of his life and move toward health.
Lloyd echoed the anguish and faith of the author of Lamentations from our first reading today. The writer cries out: “I am bereft of peace...I have forgotten what happiness is...I will never forget what I have been through...I remember it all, but there is one other thing I remember so to regain hope: it is God’s unconditional love and God’s abundant mercy to me... these are new every morning..”.
God’s personal love and mercy deepened as Lloyd modelled his life on the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. He did so, in a particular way, by living out the profession of his religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for over 45 years.
As Lloyd shared in the sufferings of Christ, he was aware that Christ companioned him in his suffering, especially these past weeks. Lloyd’s faith also helped him believe that Christ was with him in his dying, for as St. Paul reminds us today, “There is nothing that can come between us and the love of Christ -- not even death.”
Lloyd knew that God would transform his suffering and death into new life just as God did with his Son, Jesus – the ultimate expression of God’s love. As a faithful disciple of Jesus, God now prepares a place and creates a home for Lloyd close to himself.
We are confident that Lloyd shares the fullness of life with God in his new dwelling – for the liturgy reminds us: “Lord, for your faithful people, life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death, we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.”
Today, we give thanks to God for Lloyd’s family that formed him in the Catholic Christian faith from his early childhood. On behalf of the members of the Congregation, I offer to you Jerry and Mark, and your families, our condolences, and the assurance of our prayer today and in the days to come as you grieve the loss of your brother.
Today, we remember and give thanks to God for Lloyd’s religious brothers: his novice director, Fr. Bill LaFlamme; and those who lived life in common with Lloyd and ministered with him over the years – in particular the members of Resurrection College House and Resurrection Manor House.
I would like to acknowledge the presence of Fr. Ed Sheridan, Vicar General of the Diocese of Hamilton and Pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Waterloo. Also, with us today is Monsignor Murray Kroetsch who serves as a Vicar General of the Hamilton Diocese and pastor of Pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Brantford. Thank you for your long-standing friendship with the Resurrectionists, for representing the Diocese, and for your presence at this Mass of Christian Burial for Brother Lloyd.
Lloyd’s passing from this life to the next takes place in the 175th foundation anniversary of the Congregation of the Resurrection. Lloyd’s response to place God at the center of his life expressed itself in the charism and mission of the Congregation’s founder, Bogdan Janski. It was Janski’s profound belief that life-giving change for individuals and groups could only take place by faith in God’s unconditional love experienced by sharing in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. For Bogdan Janski, this was our Hope.
Lloyd brought the gospel expressed through the spiritual legacy of our founder to the many people he served over the years: to the parishioners of Holy Family Parish; to the students of Resurrection College, St. Jerome’s High School, and St. John’s College; to the sick and dying of St. Pius X Parish; to the parishioners of St. Theresa of Avila Parish; and to his brothers as he served as the local leader of Resurrection College House for the last 6 years. .
But not only did Lloyd bring hope to those whom he ministered; he, himself, was a sign of hope -- giving witness to the power of Christ’s resurrection. The life of Brother Lloyd Michaud teaches us that despite our various vulnerabilities, our lack of clarity and understanding of any given situation, the ambiguities of life that surround us, and the utter feeling of despair that can paralyse us, that despite these obstacles believing in God changes things. It changes our perspective, and although these experiences of life are not easy, faith in the power and presence of God, centered in Christ, and nurtured by the Spirit, allows us to live in hope. This is the witness that Brother Lloyd Michaud leaves us with today.
Brother Lloyd, faithful disciple of the Risen Lord, may you rest in peace.