Just as I was emailing my column to our bulletin editor, I got a call from Fr. Michael telling me that his father had died. As much as he is a part of our parish family, in addition to being a good friend, I felt that I had to comment in this space.
When I heard the news of Fr. Michael’s father, I couldn’t help but think of my own parents. My mother died in 1992, just a couple of weeks before her 72nd birthday, after a short battle with cancer. At the time I was Parochial Vicar at St. Gabriel Parish in Whitehall. We had a retired priest, Fr. Thomas Carey, living with us at the time. I later heard that at the Sunday evening Mass the day Mom died, Fr. Carey told the people to pray for me in a special way. I would like to remember Fr. Carey’s remarks for Fr. Michael. As a priest who made a commitment to celibacy, Fr. Michael relies upon his parents to be his family. He does not have a wife or children to turn to for comfort. A priest’s relationship with his parents is a special bond.
After my mother’s death, my father lived on his own for another 19 years. He died in 2011, just a couple of months before my silver anniversary. I remember once as a little boy when I commented that it was going to be exciting to see the year 2000. Dad said, “For you, maybe. I would have to live to 85 to see 2000.” I reminded him of that conversation somewhere around 2010. Like my father, Fr. Michael’s dad lived to be 96. I guess there was something particularly hardy about those World War Il veterans. As I had done, Fr. Michael consoled himself with the thought that his father lived a full and good life. He felt that it was time for his father to go. His father, in fact, had said that he was ready some time before.
Before he entered the seminary, Fr. Michael used to help his father in his work, learning such skills as installing tile. In recent years, when Mr. Maranowski could not do the things he liked, Fr. Michael often had to do things for him, including helping him stand when he fell. As I sometimes told Fr. Michael, “It’s tough raising parents these days.” He will certainly miss his father terribly, but his faith is his source of strength. He will also be a source of comfort to his mother. And fortunately he still has brothers in the vicinity.
Please keep the Maranowski family in your prayers, and pray for eternal rest for Joseph Maranowski.
If you would like to send your condolences to Fr. Michael, his address is:
Fr. Michael J. Maranowski
c/o Felician Sisters Motherhouse
1500 Woodcrest Ave.
Coraopolis, PA 15108-3054