25th anniversary of Fr. Healy’s death

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It’s unfathomable to me that it has been 25 years since Fr. Healy died. More than anyone else, he helped me to see that God loved me and that I was part of the Church. Perhaps more importantly, however, he helped me understand that as such, I had a responsibility to others, in my immediate neighborhood, country, and the world. He was a priest, a prophet, and a human with all our flaws, sins, and idiosyncrasies.

At the time of his death from AIDS, I remember that many were shocked, even angry, that he had the disease and that he’d chosen to hide it until just weeks before his death. I knew years earlier that Fr. Healy was HIV positive. I once took him to a new physician in the hopes of changing the course of his disease once protease inhibitors came into existence. He brought a plastic bag full of medication to the appointment but then explained to the doctor that he couldn’t keep up the regimen of pills because he was so busy with his ministry. That experience of Fr. Healy has always stayed with me. He was so busy taking care of others that his own health wasn’t a priority. If I had any anger at him at the time, it was likely lessened by understanding his focus.

It has always been sad to me that the cause of his death has overshadowed his ministry and perhaps his legacy. HIs words moved me to tears each week. A recent graduate from a Catholic college, where attending Mass was something that everyone did as a means of avoiding studying for the week ahead, I’d never been so moved as I was each week, listening to Fr. Healy’s homilies. I frequently cried. I got involved. I worked on behalf of others and knew, as Fr. Healy would say, “in the depth of my being” that I belonged in God’s Church.

My uncle, a priest at that time in the Washington Archdiocese, gave me some tapes of Fr. Healy’s homilies and explained the 3 liturgical cycles. Then, more tapes were found in the old rectory and somehow were passed on to me, perhaps by Fr. Tuz. Soon parishioners who had long ago moved on to other areas, found me and provided me with still more tapes of his homilies. I’ve been digitizing and posting them according to the liturgical calendar for more than a decade and yet I still have more tapes that haven’t been heard yet.

Who would have thought that these homilies, many of which were originally delivered, more than thirty years ago, would be not only inspiring, but so helpful to those that couldn’t attend Mass due to a pandemic? Albeit a bit biased, these homilies are timeless with important truths and messages still to be heard. They are also a glimpse into the past where a greater context of now historical events can be understood.

My hope is that somehow this collection can live on in an accessible archive. Now in late-middle age, I know that I cannot manage this indefinitely so I am putting this hope out there and remaining open to what might become available.

Today, as a means of remembering a great priest and prophet, I hope you’ll join me in taking just a few minutes to remind yourself that you are a child of God…and then do something simple or extraordinary for someone else, especially the poor or marginalized, because we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

Frank Finamore, website creator

3 thoughts on “25th anniversary of Fr. Healy’s death

    gail.meighan@gmail.com said:
    January 10, 2022 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you, Frank, for your beautiful tribute to Fr. Healy. He was an extraordinary servant of God, an ardent minister to the poor, and a gifted speaker.

    Thank you for providing us with his wonderful homilies which are brilliant. Though I don’t know how to help you with the digitalization, I am happy to contribute to the cost. Please send an address.

    May our dear Fr. Healy rest in peace and may we remember him by working for our neighbors.

    Blessings, Gail Meighan

    Sent from my iPhone

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    candhbrewer said:
    January 10, 2022 at 3:11 pm

    Frank, Thank you so much for your commitment to making Fr. Healy’s homilies available. I still miss him!! Here us a true story about him I like to share. I was teaching a social justice class at PVI at the time of the Farragut West closure at night to the homeless. Several prayer vigils were being held at night as a protest against the closure. I brought some students with me one night to support the effort and show the students the Catholic Church’s commitment to social justice. (How times have changed!) We all know how Fr. Healy liked to be the showman and center of attention. It was one of his many charms!! Well, here we were at about 11:00 PM, in the cold, singing hymns. I happened to look up and who was across from us, not in clerical attire, just blending in with the crowd, but Fr. Healy….no big show, no wanting to lead…just a fellow member of the group. He put his sermons into action….quietly, humbly, and with integrity. This memory still makes me smile!

    Sent from my iPad

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    Sue Carlson said:
    January 10, 2022 at 3:23 pm

    Thank you for this message, Frank. It brought me to tears. Thank you for all you do for others.

    Like

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