Wednesday, May 9, 2018

remembering Papi, who followed the good shepherd




My mom reminded me today of a family story that exemplifies, in so many ways, who my father was.

As our family of four sat on a plane leaving la Habana on January 5, 1962 – religious refugees flying to Kingston, Jamaica, before heading to Miami – there was a moment when the reality of their situation suddenly hit my mom, bringing tears to her eyes.

Here they were, two people who had never been outside of Cuba, now leaving everyone and everything they knew behind them, with no idea as to who or what they would meet when the plane landed, or even where they were going to sleep that night.

I was the youngest of their two children, only 16 months old, and I was crying, no doubt ingesting and feeling the intense emotions of the two adults holding me.

Mami remembers that she leaned back on her chair and looked at her husband of five years and said, “¿y ahora que?,” and now, what?


Papi looked at her, and quietly began reciting from memory the psalm that was the theme of his life:

El Señor es mi pastor… nada me faltará.
En lugares de verdes pastos me hace descansar;
junto a aguas de reposo me conduce.
El restaura mi alma;
me guía por senderos de justicia
por amor de su nombre…

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack… I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me…

There are so many other details about that story to tell, but today, it’s all about that good shepherd!

Because in God’s abundant and personal love for us, and thanks to His attention to details in showing His love for us… the homily at today’s All Saints School Mass – offered for my Papi, on the 4th anniversary of his death – centered on the image of Jesus, our Good Shepherd!


my last photo of Papi, with his great-granddaughter Sofia