A few minutes before writing this post, when the blue-darkness of night crept into my flat, I thought, I must include Richard’s intentions in my Rosary tonight and pray that the cancer disappears… Then the heavy realisation fell on my brain, Richard passed away two days ago. He left this life at a quarter to nine on Saturday morning, October 11th 2014.
Fortunately, my best friend and I took a trip to Wales a month ago, in September, to visit Richard and spend some time with him. I will remember him in his conservatory, bright light pouring in, and his beautiful family surrounding him.
Let me underscore that Richard was an exceptional friend. I always felt secure in asking Richard for prayers because he would generously devote time and energy to prayer, but didn’t expect something in return. In life - I’ve learned the hard way that there are few pure souls who give of themselves and their time – without expecting something in return.
I believe it is thanks to Richard’s prayers that I met Dan Radcliffe, and that a few months ago I got the in-depth interview with Nigel Farage on Northern Ireland. To be fair, it is usually senior political correspondents that get those interviews, especially on subjects as delicate as the future for Northern Ireland in the event of the UK leaving the EU. But with Richard’s prayers, the interview came to pass.
Richard’s prayers were a pure and selfless gift. I think this is why Richard’s prayers were *answered*. God saw that Richard’s heart was clean and acted accordingly, as in Psalm 24 Pray with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalm 24:3-4)
If I e-mailed him, asking for prayers for a particular intention, Richard would send back a reply that he had taken out the Rosary and was going to ‘storm Heaven’.
I have no clue as to how many dozens upon dozens of Rosaries that Richard offered for my intentions. It is very fitting that Richard should die during October, the month devoted to the Holy Rosary.
I have always described Richard as ‘a prayer warrior’. Even if I didn’t have good news, Richard would never be daunted, but would encourage me and promise even more prayers! Writing this next sentence is hard – grief bites and paralyses my fingers – but I have to train my brain not to e-mail Richard asking for prayers.
Perhaps Richard would most like to be remembered as an exceptional Catholic. At times, when he was in agony and his cancer was extremely painful, he could STILL be found giving encouragement to other Catholic bloggers or offering up his suffering for the intentions of another. No matter how sick he was, he never failed to give a pat on the back to someone who needed support, or to take the side of someone who was being picked on.
|The statue of St Peregrine at San Juan Capistrano, Southern California|
Richard prayed for me to get interviews with members of the Vatican Hierarchy. And in the months just passed, one of the very same princes of the Church (the future Pope??!) offered Masses for Richard at my request.
When I organised the novena to Padre Pio for Richard’s intentions, a minimum of 1,807 people offered the novena, and this does not include the many people who said the Novena because it was shared so widely on Facebook and to a lesser extent Twitter.
It’s tempting to write that, ‘I have a friend in high places’, essentially bragging that I have a friend in Heaven. But I must restrain myself – because it would be the last thing that Richard would want. He would hate for us to presume his sanctity. Instead, we can join his family in offering prayers for the repose of his soul.
Good friends of mine have prayed at High Masses yesterday for the repose of Richard’s soul, I invite all my readers to do the same and to pray for his family in their time of grief.