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Grott, Raymond

Lexington, KY
February 12, 1903-December 29, 1903

Excertps: Eulogy, Raymond Grott,
From P. Baute
We are gathered to celebrate and honor a faithful and priestly life. Ray was a modest person and would not want us to praise his deeds. Yet a few words must be said.

Ray was of that generation of men raised Catholic who accepted the summons of Jesus to leave all things and "come follow me," into a life of priestly service and giving to others. He was ordained in 1943, 16 years before myself. Ray and I had a special bond. We resigned from the official canonical status in the same year, 1968, and became friends. We often met to share and to pray. We talked about the difference between priesthood and priestliness. The first is a canonical status, but priestliness is a way of life, of living, according to the gospel. It is essentially a ministry to others, without boundaries, in the spirit of Jesus, willling to wink at church rules, as did Jesus at the religious rules of his time.

Jesus welcomed the outsider, the least, lost, last and lame. With him there were no "outsiders," No boundaries. Ray lived that way.

Ray (and some others of us also) found that he could not be the kind of priestly person his heart called him to be inside the canonical official priesthood.

So he left the canonical priesthood to celebrate a more generous ministry of service to others. We discovered each other and shared an intense interest in this Mystery we call God and how the Spirit works, and met often for many years.

Ray was a serious man who could sometimes be too serious. When he and Isalbel married, he said to her "Teach me to play, and she did. They travelled and played much golf together. Especially did Ray enjoy young people, and Isabel was always the gracious hostess. He had a great heart for the disadvantaged and the poor and the hungry. "Food for the Poor" was one of his favorite charities.

Ray was also very fond of the daughter from Thailand, Mia, he and Isabel adopted and raised, and his nieces and nephews, and Bonnie, Isabel's daughter. How do we say good bye to someone like Ray?

When a spouse or parent--or dear friend-- dies, we don't so much say "good-bye" as we release them. We release them from our need for their continuing love and affmnation. We need untie the bonds, to let them go. It is harder when we realize that are lucky to have been blessed by a priestly heart of a man.

Grief is one of the few things that has the power to silence us. It is a whisper in the world and a clamor in the heart. More than anything else, grief is unspoken, publicly ignored except in those too brief moments at the funeral, or between those of us who recognize in one another a kindred chasm deep in the center of who we are.

Anna Quindlen said it well: the world loves closure, loves a thing that can be gotten through, finished, loves "answers." Perhaps this is why it can come as a great surprise to find that some loss is forever, that years after the event, there are those occasions when something inside cries out at the continued presence of an absence. "An Awful leisure," Emily Dickinson once called what the living had after the death of a loved one. "When does it stop hurting?" some want to know. A authentic but blunt answer might be, "If it ever does, I will let you know, maybe."

Robert Louis Stevenson said of his friend, that when a friend dies, there falls along with him a whole wing of the palace of our life. That wing of friendship for me was Ray.