By Charlie Johnston
I visited and grieved with George Cronin on Sunday. I am not ready to write about it yet. It was brutally hard having waited so long, then the day before we were to finally joyfully meet, lose Joey to a catastrophic human error. Susan had gone out for a while. She was so devastated at the unexpected denouement she could not bear to see anyone new. George was afraid I would be offended, but I understood exactly. That is how I deal with extreme grief, illness or stress…I withdraw for a time from everyone. George is devastated, but determined to behave in a way that will make Joey proud – just as he has been throughout. George likes to call himself a simple mechanic, but he is one of the finest, strongest, most honorable men I have ever known. Pray for that dear family in this agonizing trial. Young Joey was a sign of hope to many and I am confident intercedes on behalf of this family here at this site now.
Karen Dembia, who coordinated my New Jersey visit, sent a bunch of roses along with me from the Carmelites and is having a Mass said on a Sunday for the Cronins. But she was so graceful she sent it on behalf of all the Next Right Step community and listed that as who requested the Mass. You were represented. The funeral for Joey was on Tuesday. As I said, I am shaken enough by this tragic turn of events that I cannot write about it just yet at any length. I will when I can.
While I was in New Jersey, the priest who has kept the archives on me for near 20 years, Fr. Mark, called me to let me know that it looked like he was in Philly while I was in Jersey, but then would be in Jersey while I was in Philly – and we had to figure out a way to get together, for though we talk just about every week, we had not seen each other physically in nearly three and a half years. We were able to get together in Princeton, New Jersey (right near Einstein’s old house, I might add) and swap coffee and stories together for a couple of hours. He is being transferred to California, so I might be able to get to visit him again next month. We certainly won’t let three and a half years go by again. (I laughed and told him if that happened, it would already be nearly a year after the Storm had mercifully ended).
I don’t have all the details yet, but we have a big event in Covington, Louisiana coming up this fall. On September 28 both Mark Mallett and I will join Kitty Cleveland to do an event together. If I could only sing, it would be absolutely perfect…but it will be pretty perfect to have two such great Christian musicians together – and Mark will, of course, give a presentation as well as singing. We are all excited about it. Mark and I communicate regularly, but this will be the first time we actually meet. We probably will sing the Song of Triumph together at one point…but I will be the weak leg on that three-legged stool. I will get you more information as we get all the details ironed out.
A few links to tide you over until I am settled down and able to do a meaty post…
First, a short secular piece on the savage butchery of Planned Parenthood. Kevin Williamson is on of my favorite modern columnists, always deep and insightful.
Then a piece by Carl Olson over at Catholic World Report on Pope Francis that is, pleasingly, non-ideological, but offers some thoughts worthy of contemplation.
Finally, Mark Mallett has absolutely been on fire for about a month – and though I link to him permanently and quote him regularly, I thought this piece on the Glance of God deserves a little extra attention.