This week I learned that two priest friends with whom I was in the seminary passed on to eternal life. One was a Franciscan, the other Diocesan. They both had very different lives. The Franciscan was with the Holy Land Commissariat and died in Haifa. Fr. Joshua Doyle, OFM suffered from a number of physical illnesses throughout the years. He had a great love for our Lady and for the Blessed Sacrament. I remember one time when one of the superiors in a Franciscan house in Maine was disturbed by Fr. Joshua’s personal prayer time. Fr. Joshua would sit in the chapel with his eyes transfixed on the tabernacle. The superior, with a tone of disgust in his voice said, “What are you looking at?”. Fr. Joshua knew not “what” he was looking at but “whom” he was looking at and communing with. I will always be grateful for his friendship and the example he gave me in his love for our Lord and the Church.
Fr. Anthony Dandry was a parish priest from New Jersey. I remember the day I met Tony in the seminary. The first thing he asked me was, “Do you wear the brown scapular?” Fr. Dandry was deeply devoted to Our Lady and there was no hiding it. He was Italian, not in name only, it oozed from his personality. He was very outgoing and jolly. Fr. Tony loved being a priest. The very center of his life was his daily Mass. Fr. Tony also suffered from illness. He had a severe issue with diabetes. Diabetes began to take away Fr. Tony’s eyesight. At the end, he retired due to health and lives in a trailer where he had an altar to celebrate his daily Mass.
Although I have not seen either Fr. Joshua or Fr. Tony for a number of years, they have had a lasting effect on my life. I remember them both in sadness because I will not see them again in this life, but I know we will be joined together in the Kingdom as brother priests forever with our eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.
Although they were both men who sought holiness in their lives, I remember them in my Masses and prayers. They would both tell me and I ask of you to prayer for their eternal rest and peace in grateful thanksgiving to God for two priests.