Thank God for William!

Thank You God for the Gift of William

In keeping with my November theme and continuing to “give thanks”, I would like to share with you about a little boy who died at about 7 years of age back in 1992 in my second year of priesthood at Sacred Heart Church in Jacksonville. He would have been 26 years old today. One of his classmates served with me in Iraq in 2004. I give great thanks that I met him. William taught me how to live and die with great love and respect. I was so hesitant to be there at the moment he died, and yet it is probably one of my most amazing and precious gifts. Because of William, I believe I was taught to stand by the men and women who died in Iraq as they died and serve with integrity those left behind.

God bless you on this Journey of William. The Gospel I used for this homily at his funeral is Luke 24:13-35 which is the Road to Emmaus. They recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread which was at the dinner table when they were giving thanks!


Thank you God for the gift of William,
His life, his love, his longing for God
I, a priest, met William in the hospital
last fall when he was beginning to be shaken from the tree.
The winds of time
And the hard frost of cancer weakened this small boy terribly

But at the same time we were stunned with helplessness
Our William became stunningly colorful
William was a work of art,
A reflection of God’s holiness and creativity

In the too few times
I encountered William these past few months
I felt a wonderful peace and presence
that permeated my soul from this gentle and lovely boy.
He laughed and giggled and prayed with me
through songs and puppets and goofy tricks

What amazes me most of all about William
is that he knew who I was
as a representative of God and Jesus.
William called me to be Christ,
even though I am unworthy for the role…honest
We, the parish of Sacred Heart,
anointed William three times with the oil of the sick
Once in front of the entire community
as he hid his face within his Father’s arms
and moved every one of us with deep emotion
I believe that when William was anointed with the holy oils
and the laying on of hands, he healed us a bit
We received the touch of God through the touch of William
who still touches us now
as our hearts burn
almost to the point of consuming us with grief and loss

We weep and we hurt
William has wept and hurt
But no longer
Jesus, O Jesus
Meet us on this road
Meet us today and explain to us what is happening
Let our hearts burn with William’s presence and love and spirit
Let this church of lovers burn with your presence and love and spirit
Break open the Silence
Comfort our hurtin’ hearts
and assure us that you have not abandoned us

William called for me via his mother
His mother asked me to help William, so I thought,
to pass through the Fear of Death
Upon arrival I realized, that no
I experienced that William
was to help me and you through this pain in our hearts

I anointed William for the third and last time
And then the oil poured down from heaven
I broke the bread, the Body of Christ, and touched it to his lips
and then shared it with his family

A spasm
A song
A prayer and breaking open of Scriptures

While his family wept for William with heads bowed,
they knew he was saying good-bye
I noticed his little gasps for breath
and focus of his eyes
William seemed to take the appearance of Jesus
William was seeing the Glory of God with Jesus
and Jesus took the pain!
I was looking at Jesus
And Jesus was looking at me!
And now Jesus looks at You!
Calling you all to love one another
And be loving
Come to Jesus
and live the Kingdom on Earth as it is in heaven
And William will not be far from you
In fact,
In the Breaking of the Bread
which we will share soon
Rejoice in the Love of God
The burning of Love
A God who shares our pain, and sorrow and joy
Believe it
As you feel it right now
Be alive and risen

This little boy
Like a small seed falling to the ground
Has become a tree of love, of life
To shade us
And bring us peace
Thank you God for William
Thank you God for

Beloved on this first week of Advent, may we journey to the Birth of Christ and then on through his life to the glory of Easter.

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses +

Let US give Thanks!

Let us give thanks!

Sometimes giving thanks is the best gift we can give to ourselves. When we give thanks, we tend to get a better conviction of our own values and beliefs. Giving thanks is a way of affirming the good that others do. When we say, “Thanks!” we are informing someone else and ourselves that we want to strive to imitate another’s goodness.

Lest we be naïve, sometimes evil distorts the “thanks” especially when it is for selfish motives or to get something out of the thanks giving. For instance, I might say, “Thanks for your service!” to a military person because I am benefiting from the war in that I own or manage a weapons factory. Surely it isn’t ‘black and white’. Unfortunately, in our global economy, we all profit from war. If my church or restaurant is in a location near a military base, I most likely will be better off financially from a war or rise in conflict.

So I give thanks for the ability to think about these things. If a couple divorces, the economy benefits from the tragedy when they have to have two domiciles. What I need to do is live more simply so others can simply live. I desire to empty myself through giving thanks constantly, and then realize that I am filled up from God within me. The more love, joy and peace I give, the more love, joy and peace I seem to have. How is that for Good News?

Instead of turkey for this Thanksgiving, I am going to eat the Lamb of God. Jesus’ way is considered the foolish way. And so if I follow Jesus, then I am a fool for Christ or maybe even “a turkey for Christ!” I give thanks every day for the Lamb of God on my table. They say we are what we eat. Let us feast not on turkeys, but on the Lamb of God!

From a commentary on the Song of Songs by Saint Gregory of Nyssa, bishop:

Where do you pasture your sheep, O Good Shepherd, you who carry on your shoulders the whole flock? For it is but one sheep, this entire human race whom you lift onto your shoulders. Show me the place where there are green pastures, let me know restful waters, lead me out to nourishing grass and call me by name so that I can hear your voice, for I am your own sheep. And through that voice calling me, give me eternal life.
Tell me, you whom my soul loves. This is how I address you, because your true name is above all other names; it is unutterable and incomprehensible to all rational creatures. And so the name I use for you is simply the statement of my soul’s love for you, and this is an apt name for making your goodness known. Very dark through I am, how could I not love you who so loved me, that your laid down your life for the sheep you tend? No greater love can be conceived than this, that you should purchase my salvation at the cost of your life.

Thank You Jesus, for being the food on my table this Thanksgiving!

Thank you, Catholic Stewards of Creation, for allowing me to be part this wonderful ministry. A true steward cannot exist without gratitude.

“The heavens are telling the glory of God,
and all creation is shouting for joy!
Come dance in the forest,
come play in the field
And sing, sing to the glory of the Lord!”
(from the Canticle of the Sun by Marty Haugen)

Let us give thanks!
Have a most blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving

Love, joy, peace,
Father Ron Moses Camarda +

50 Years of Edgar and Margaret

A few weeks ago
I went to visit Edgar
who was declining at the hospital
He didn’t seem to have much life
as in weeks
Body was shutting down.
Yesterday, just before Mass
Josie told me he would die that day
I told her we would pray
And then go after praising the Lord

So we praised the Lord, Our Beloved Jesus

I thank you God for my truck
It brought us safely
Josie and I shared how
we were not afraid of death
We both had brushed up against it,
peace and warmth
We remembered her husband, Jim,
two years ago when I was there
We enjoyed the ride.
Josie and I journeyed through the bereavement,
such good women at St. Patrick’s Church
Edgar wasn’t Catholic
But he always paved the way
for his beloved wife of 50 years and their children
The children went through our school
So here we were
gathered around Edgar’s deathbed
Renewed their vows
sang songs of love
kissed his ravished body
The Beloved is our Light and Salvation
of whom should we be afraid?

We peeked into heaven…
Edgar was leaving promptly
When I anointed Edgar,
I felt such a warmth
He smiled the best he could
Then, when I anointed his beloved Margaret…
I sensed that him leave his body

Their Marriage has left
yet it still remains
Heaven and Earth
Earth giving way to Heaven
This isn’t exactly romantic
but beyond comprehension
All the Spirit asked me to do
was to move her hand toward his
and clear the path for
their lips to lock and let go

Love, poverty of life, joy

You see, just before we die
we are the poorest of the poor
When our loved ones die
we are so poor and desperate
because we love to love
and need the food produced when we
love one another

God you are magnificent,
to create us in your image

Sing praises, Dance Eternal
A love
All One!

Suffer, we do
Die, we will
Rise, we are
In love
In joy
In peace… Alleluia!

Father Ron Camarda – 2004

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Living Veterans

Even though November is the month when we remember those who have died, there is something to be said about the living. Memorial Day is when we remember all Veterans whom have died. On the other hand, Veterans Day (November 11) is a time to remember and honor all Veterans who live after serving, precisely because they have lived.

Once a veteran, always a veteran. All veterans take an oath similar to a marriage covenant. Divorces or annulments of their status as a veteran are almost unheard of. In fact many veterans are the fiercest fighters for the end of all wars and for abiding peace, precisely because they are committed to protecting their beloved country against all enemies foreign or domestic. (even if the enemy is within our souls)

“I, a Veteran of the United States of America, promise to be faithful to you, My Beloved Country, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will honor and love you all the days of my life.”

Lately I have been struggling with my next book, TEAR IN MY SOUL, which is an attempt to discover the truth and flesh of our souls. I have journeyed and written in my journals since I graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy over 30 years ago. I have written about that sacred time just before death of hundreds of people. That is probably the reason that all the doors opened for me to be called to serve with the Marines in Iraq against all odds. God knew I would be a great witness to these astonishing living moments before death. I have been doing it most of my life.

Susi Pittman raises and attempts to answer the question about whether animals are in heaven. In the weeks and maybe months ahead, I thought it would be worth sharing about people I believe are in Heaven. I have loved them all and I truly don’t believe that I could ever outdo God in compassion and love. Hang on as we take this incredible journey together to discover a tear or two in our souls if we glimpse a loved one in heaven.

In honor of Veteran’s Day, this story comes from my time as a parochial vicar at St. Catherine’s in Orange Park. I had been called to lead a funeral service for a Veteran who wasn’t attached to any particular church. Who am I to judge?


What do I know about Maurice except that he died August 3, 1998?
Maurice was a sailor and soldier, a husband, father, brother, grandfather and son.
He lived 76 years
He must have been a friend and an acquaintance
The sea is magical and peaceful
I know the touch of a sunrise or sunset at the core of my being
Those who sail on the seas or deploy know the longing,
for the source of the breathless celestial transits,
for the mystery of the loneliness
the desire for loved ones
the need for home
even when home is somewhat broken
Veterans know the camaraderie of a troop or battalion or ship
the fall of a shipmate or death of a buddy
All these are part of living
If we always waited for the trip, voyage or deployment to end or the hump to cease,
we may never live the life we were given
If our only goal in life were to make it
to Eagle Scout or Scout Master or CEO,
how empty would be the journey?
the adventure?
the voyage of eternity?
Maurice, Dad, Granddad, Friend…
We will meet you in the moments,
the breaking of our hearts

and in the remembering of the voyage
Sail on!
March on!
Right on!

God bless our Veterans. Let’s pray for lasting peace only Jesus can give us. After the Battles of Gethsemane, Golgotha and Death, Jesus stood before us even though the doors were locked and said, “Peace be with you.” And then he showed them his hands and sides. At the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced? He said it again, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive each other’s sins, they are forgiven. If you hold them bound, then they will remain bound.”

Love, joy, peace,

Father Ron Moses +