Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tribute to a Friend

Joseph Edward

When I met with Father Michael Prieur last week, one of the things we spoke about was a man named Joseph Edward.  I have referred in at least one of my View from a Pew posts to the piano player at one of our masses, who I remembered holding in my arms when she was a little baby.  She is his oldest of 2 daughters, both of whom play piano in choirs at our Church, St. George in London, Ontario.

Father Michael Prieur reminded me when we met of how he had introduced Joseph to me when Joseph was new to London, coming from Sri Lanka.  Some of the details are missing from my memory banks, but this I do know.  He had left Sri Lanka, leaving his wife behind at the time, to find a better life for them in Canada.  He had arrived on the door step of St. Peter's Seminary, where he met Fr. Prieur.  Father arranged for him to stay in the Seminary for 3 or 4 weeks, while he got himself settled.  As Joseph had a diploma in computer science, Father Prieur introduced him to me.

I then hired Joseph to work for me, and he did for about 10 years.  He was the most diligent worker one could find.  One of the things that touched me most about him was that whenever we would drive together and passed a Catholic Church, he always blessed himself with the Sign of the Cross.  I do that now myself and have for a number of years.  He and I both believed that Christ is present in the Blessed Sacrament, and we also knew that the tabernacle of each Catholic Church holds the Blessed Sacrament.  It is a small gesture, but from Joseph it is a sign of his faith in and love of Jesus Christ.

Joseph was offered a job at the Diocese of London, to head up their computer area.  Originally he was the department.  When he told me that he was leaving, I was really upset.  I did not know at the time that it was really abandonment issues that were about me, not him.  So, I was not as kind to him as I should have been.  In fact, my recollection is that I was not kind at all. 

He worked diligently for the Diocese for these last 10 years or so, and brought them forward in technology by light years.  Recently, he was offered the position as Chief Technology Officer at the City of London, to replace a man who has had the role for many years, and is retiring.

I saw Joseph after mass this morning, as he was there to pick up his youngest daughter.  He got out of his car, and greeted me and my dear wife.  We spoke of his new job, and promised to get together after we return from the south.

Joseph had a head of black hair when he first started to work for me.  Through no particular fault of my own of which I am aware, beyond what I stated previously, his hair is now a distinguished mantle of grey.  And beneath that is one of the most engaging smiles on the planet.  It speaks of the warmth of his heart and the depth of his faith.

He will have a staff of 80 reporting to him in his new role, and those 80 people will receive the blessing of working with a fine man of abiding faith.

Congratulations, Joseph.

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