Fr Johnson's funeral took place a week ago today. I wanted to say something about it earlier and to include more about Father himself. I've written and deleted a goodly amount in the past week, most of it maudlin, and determined that my vocation is not that of eulogist. Suffice to say that I miss him and the odds are that he is a saint, even though I would get no thanks from him for saying that. He left specific instructions that no one is to claim that he is in heaven, but rather to ask prayers for his soul. So I have prayed for his soul and I hope you do too. If he is in heaven, they won't go to loss.
The funeral was gorgeous and very moving. Fr Robert Bishop celebrated the traditional Requiem Mass of the Roman Rite, a High Mass with an outstanding small choir providing the Gregorian propers and polyphonic ordinary. I've never heard the Dies Iræ so perfectly chanted and the meaning so movingly portrayed by the music. St Mary's by the Sea
was packed, the people lining the aisles, filling the vestibule, and standing out onto the porch and the steps. To I think everyone's great surprise the Bishop attended and presided in the sanctuary. I think rather better of him than I have in the past for that good act. Fr Barbour, the prior of St Michael's Præmonstratensian Abbey preached an eloquent and touching eulogy. (Father Barbour gave us this lovely image: Father Johnson died on the 18th of March. St Patrick, whose feast was Father Johnson's last full day on earth, took his left hand, and St Joseph, whose feast was Father's first full day in eternity, took his right hand and they led him to the judgement seat of the Merciful Judge.) There were many priests in attendance and some of the Carmelite sisters of the Sacred Heart who attended Father in his last days.
Una Voce - Orange County appeared to be recording the ceremony. There may be pictures or a dvd available at some time.
He's buried at Holy Cross in Culver City in the Immaculate Heart of Mary section. His committal was out of the traditional Roman Ritual, also.
Rest in peace, dear Father, and pray for us who are left behind.