The Diocese of Raleigh laid to rest one of it's priests yesterday, Fr. John Parish, pastor of St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Wake Forest. Fr. Parish passed away at the age of 49 in his rectory on Monday.-
What was remarkable yesterday, was that after the Requiem Mass, his body was taken to St. Matthew's cemetery about an hour away. Well, that's not remarkable, but the police escort was. A beautiful tradition in the south is that oncoming traffic will pull off the road as a funeral procession passes by. While many people observe this willingly, let's just say the police escort assisted others in pulling off the road. The Wake Forest police department took us to the county line, where 8-10 motorcylce police and a couple of cruisers from Durham City and the Durham County Sheriff's Department picked up the motorcade. The motorcyle police road IN the oncoming lane assuring that everyone pulled over!!! If cars didn't, they basically ran them off the road! Then when we got to the highway/interstate they SHUT DOWN the highway for us!!! They had every on ramp along our route BLOCKED with police cars! We were the only cars on our side of the highway!
I can only imagine what those who were stopped were thinking - certainly they must have thought someone extremely important was passing in front of them. Indeed, they were right, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church!!!
If you live in the triangle area and you're reading this, it might not be a bad idea to contact the the Wake Forest and Durham Police departments as well as the Durham County Sheriff's Department and thank them. We are all frustrated by the lack of respect shown to our priests these days, so I think we owe a great deal of thanks when this much respect is shown!
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord. And may perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.