Friday, March 18, 2016

Consummatum est: Fr. Joseph Peek's funeral Mass

Image courtesy All Saints Catholic Church
Fr. Joseph Peek, priest of Jesus Christ, presbyter of the Church of Atlanta, was laid to rest today in an amazing funeral Mass at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody (where he had resided for the past few years, as his illness progressed).

You can read all about his beautiful life in the obituary:
On March 14, 2016, Father Joe, surrounded by the songs and prayers his parents and siblings, drew his last breath, completed his life on earth, and began his eternal life with Christ. Father Joseph Peek is survived by his parents, Mary and Joseph of Atlanta, his ten siblings, and his thirty-nine nieces and nephews.
Photo courtesy Aileen Barreca on Facebook
 I didn't know Father Joe very well. He was always very solicitous of me as a seminarian (as he was, all of us), and in his online ministry, joined in the occasionally vigorous discussions on my Facebook page. I recall a few years ago when, after an Ordination Mass at the Cathedral, he accompanied me (I think I was a Deacon), and several seminarians, to Finelli's on Peachtree. I've been scouring around for the inevitable photograph that I took, as is my wont ... but no luck. With all the best of intentions, I didn't get to say goodbye in person ... Athens was far away, and in November, I was called away rather suddenly from the Archdiocese for family reasons. I've relished hearing the stories of my brothers who went to visit him and pray with him -- of his prayerfulness, his grace, and his quiet, unassuming embrace of the Cross of his physical suffering. What graces his "yes" to Jesus has won for us over the years! We truly do not realize the benefits we reap from such spiritual giants in our midst -- those who, from a purely secular perspective we would see as a "loss." A loss? An incredible gift that the Lord gave us, and as we were reminded in the homily today, a gift that Fr. Joe offered up so much of that suffering for the sanctification of the priests of the Archdiocese.

Photo courtesy Aileen Barreca, on Facebook.
Today, I joined over a hundred of my brother priests (109, according to a post on Facebook), with our three bishops, with Archbishop Gregory presiding, to celebrate the funeral Mass at All Saints. Nearly 3000 faithful crammed into every corner of the church. It was a beautiful service -- the Holy Mass, which, as Msgr. Marren reminded us, was at the center of Fr. Joseph's life -- renewing again the eternal sacrifice of Calvary. The spirited singing, eloquent and moving homily by Fr. Joe's brother, and brother priest, Fr. Kevin Peek (I just knew he would reference Fr. Paul Scalia's amazing homily at his late father's funeral!), musical tributes, and moving words from Fr. Joe's father, and Msgr. Marren, who welcomed Fr. Joe into his residence at All Saints, and the parish that took care of him in his last journey.

One of the most moving moments for me was when we gathered around the casket outside, just before the hearse bore it away. Fr. Kevin invited all the priests present to come up one by one and bless the casket. We did. And turning to our Mother, a full-throated Salve Regina rose up to the heavens from all the priests gathered.

Thank you Father Joe. Thank you for your "yes." We will pray for you. You knew how much you needed -- and need -- our prayers. But pray for us too, soon I beg the Lord in His mercy, from your mansion in heaven, for all of us, but especially your brother priests on the Archdiocese, to whom, the Lord in such a special way, offered as a gift, a holy and living sacrifice.

Thank you Lord Jesus for your priesthood, and that priesthood lived so beautifully in the life of Fr. Joseph Michael Peek.

A couple of links:

Fr. Peek's obituary.

A blog with details of the last stages of Fr. Peek's life, as well as links to videos and photos.

Photo courtesy Aileen Barreca on Facebook


Diana said...

Beautiful commentary on today's beautiful Mass.

Atlanta 40 Days said...

Thank you Fr Shroff. We will make a renewed effort to pray and make sacrifices for our bishops and priests in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and pray especially for you as you care for your mother. Have a safe trip.

elizabeth said...

Thank you Fr Shroff. A beautiful capture.