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Ode to Father Doug

He was born in Northern New Brunswick
A shy boy
Going to work in the Mill
Like everyone.

But one morning at 17
He woke and knew he was to be a priest.

He meandered to Toronto
And found the Jesuit Seminary
And Jim Webb and Bill Addley
They predeceased him.

He ministered to prisoners in Kingston Pen
Jim admired him
Doug nursed Jim as he was dying
And when Doug died they were not there for him.

He ran the Jesuit farm in Guelph
For convicts and homeless men
Spent time in Manitoulin
That lonely place of beauty and suicides.

Where sometimes in the middle of the night
Someone would phone and ask
“What time is Mass tomorrow?”

I’m told he was at L’Arche
Ministering again out of the main stream.

And then he came to Lourdes,
Where he was loved.
I don’t know if he knew it,
Knew it in his psyche,

he bled from the injustice in the world
And the cognitive dissonance in the Church
Burdened by it
Flailed against it

He didn’t like it when the trees behind the rectory
Were cut down.
To make way for a restraining wall.
Trees that he had planted.

He gave a blistering homily that day
With allusions that were inspired
As were all his homilies.
As were all his homilies.

Leonard Cohen was his hero.
He quoted him:
“There is a crack in everything
It’s how the light gets in.”

The end began last winter
When he broke his ankle
Feeding the birds, behind the rectory.
He did not heal.

Father Doug was my hero.
He let the light get in.