This is the homily of Marist Father Michael Carroll at the Memorial Mass for Edward Ekari on Thursday, January 30, at St Joseph’s Church, Murgon. Edward died in a car accident on January 20.
WE all take our life for granted so when someone is suddenly taken from us it challenges our sense of permanence.
The news of Edward being fatally injured in a car accident was a shock to us all. The words from the Book of Wisdom have become reality to us.
“The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God.
Their going looked like a disaster
But they are in peace
Their hope is rich in immortality.”
Tonight we re-affirm our faith in the resurrection.
At Easter we light this candle as a symbol of our belief that God raised Jesus from the dead and tonight we light this same Easter candle as a reminder to us that Edward, through his baptism, will one day share in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
St Paul told us that the life and death of each of us has its influence on others. Edward’s life and death has had its influence on us.
In early July 2011, I received a phone call from seminary rector Monsignor Tony Randazzo asking me to accept a student for 12 months.
He told me that the seminarian was from Papua New Guinea and he was a great networker. Two weeks later Edward arrived.
The first thing one noticed about Edward was that some time in his life he had worked with his hands.
He was built like the proverbial brick garden shed.
We, myself and you parishioners, quickly got to know his contagious laugh and ready smile.
I was also impressed by his great desire to be a priest.
As I mentioned, Monsignor Randazzo told me that he was a great networker with people.
Time came for a meeting with the parishioners to explain the purpose of the pastoral year.
Usually seminarians invite about six to eight people to the occasion.
As the meeting got closer I started to realise that there might be more than six or eight.
More than 30 people came to the meeting and I spent a considerable part of the night finding chairs for the occasion.
As mentioned before Edward could relate well to many people whether they be graziers at Durong or members of the community at Cherbourg.
He was particularly generous with his time.
He used to drive one person to and from boarding school in Toowoomba.
Edward’s life did have its influence.
His strong faith, his intellect and his generosity influenced me.
I thought long and hard about the Gospel to be proclaimed today, but I chose the Beatitudes because I think that they reflect something of Edward’s story.
The Beatitudes open with the words,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.
For they shall inherit the earth.”
Edward came to Australia because he wanted to be a priest, without any money and probably not much more than the clothes he had on his back.
The Beatitudes continue,
“Happy the gentle,
They shall have the earth for their heritage.”
I always admired the gentle way Edward related to the residents at Castra Aged Care Facility. He used to gently hold their hand when he talked to them.
In his farewell article for the parish bulletin Edward wrote:
“I will miss you all. Don’t think that I know nothing about all of you. I know all of you by heart individually. I will never forget you. All of you will be in my prayers and one day when time comes we all will meet in paradise.”
May he rest in peace.