I do not know much about the family of Wendell Black except that at his advanced age he was taking care of an adult son whom he often brought to Church events, and that other family members lived with him.
But I think that the little I know about him outside church, seeing him often in our parish and at church activities, is enough to make me say that Wendell was a good and holy man.
I say "was" because Wendell quietly passed away two weeks ago. His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at noon after wake services the night before. I am sure that a lot of fellow parishioners and his friends will be there.
However, I should really have said "is" because I believe that the goodness or greatness of a person who has lived on this earth continues on and is no longer circumscribed by space and time. People may remember even simple good acts and deeds. And, of course, God does.
Wendell was a quiet and unassuming man. He touched people without speaking a lot of words. He did it more by his aura of simplicity and humility. One could see him at Masses at which he served as a hospitality minister, greeting and showing Mass-goers to their pews, distributing the church bulletins, and still doing more after Mass like making sure that the hymnals are placed back properly in the pews and are in order for the next Mass. He was also a devoted Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and helped in funerals as part of the parish Bereavement Ministry.
Wendell was also a member of the Sodality of Our Lady, a Knight of Columbus, one of the dedicated counters of the weekly church collections, and a frequent volunteer at church activities including accompanying a priest visiting the sick in hospitals.
I will miss running into Wendell at the grocery store buying foodstuff for his family. I will miss the brief but genuine pleasantries exchanged with a man who in his own humble ways must have touched the hearts of other people given the privilege to encounter him in church, in the grocery store, and elsewhere.
May Wendell now see face to face the meekest and most humble Person, the One he served and loved in his own simple but meaningful ways, the One Who loved him first with all the tenderness of His heart.#
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ (Mt 25:21)