Thursday, March 8, 2012

R.I.P. Fr. Alexander Lewis

This was a picture found on the Bishop Montgomery High School website, under the Alumni News.

If you're following me on twitter or have "liked" the Facebook page for this blog, then you might've heard that my confessor, Fr. Alexander Lewis, passed away over the weekend. He had a heart attack last Friday and passed away at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. Even though I'm still completely shocked and a bit numb (it has yet to sink in that he's gone), I'll admit that I sobbed for a good hour when I first found out.

I'd known Fr. Alexander since late 2006 when, shortly after my reversion, I started attending confessions at the parish where he was at. In fact, Fr. Alexander was one of the first priests I felt comfortable enough with to be able to give a proper confession. He was one of the first priests to tell me that I was occasionally too hard on myself (and I didn't realize it until it was pointed out). When the confession apps came out for the iPhone/iPod touch, I started using them and he always had a smile when I would whip my iPod touch out so that I didn't forget anything. He applied my Ash Wednesday ashes this year. If you read the first article I wrote for Envoy Magazine then you know how much I appreciated his help after my father's death. Basically, I feel like I owe a lot to him and his guidance.

The last actual conversation I had with him was on how I was doing with my anxiety. The last thing he said to me was that he would continue praying for me and my anxiety. It's a bit curious (looking back at it now) that I had a knot in my throat and I teared up a bit when he said that. Last Saturday, when I went to confession, I didn't see him there (in fact, only one of the usual three priests was there) but I didn't think anything of it. It wasn't until Tuesday night that I found out why. The parish staff nor priests told the parishioners what happened until Monday morning. Since I didn't attend Mass that day (I was at Disneyland for the day), I didn't know until our downstairs neighbor told us. Both mom and I were shocked. We are still shocked. It probably won't hit me until I attend the Rosary and Vigil tomorrow. I haven't been able to attend Mass all this week (traveling and recuperating from the travel and sore muscles) so it'll be my first time back at the parish since he passed.

It's surreal. In a weird way, it felt like I had lost my dad all over again. I know it's not the same but this has been the second death that has really impacted me. Yesterday I went up to visit the Mission Santa Barbara (side note: a dream of mine is to make it to all the California Missions) and I could think of was Fr. Alexander's death and how he had also visited the Missions when he had a vacation a couple of years ago. (second side note: I'll post the pictures of the Mission Santa Barbara soon.)

I didn't give anything up this Lent... not in the usual way. I opted to add an act of kindness per day as well going to confession weekly since I've found out this is the best way to get me to be more aware of my thoughts and actions during the week. I also added things to my daily schedule and thus having less free time since that often gets me in trouble. Even though I didn't give anything up, I am still remembering what this time is about. Fr. Alexander's death has really set me in this mind frame that I should take a lot more time out of my day to really reflect. Not just passing because I'm stressed out over my Thesis (which is due at the end of this month). I am counting this as his (unintentional) last piece of guidance for me and my spiritual health. He might've passed away but what I learned from him hasn't. I know it's not the end for him (or at least his soul) and that he's in a better place now.

Fr. Alexander, thank you for everything you did for me and my family. We will all miss you. We will pray for your soul as well as for your family. (His father passed away about two years ago.) May you rest in peace.


Joe Potillor said...

A very nice tribute to Fr Alexander. I liked him a lot though I met him briefly. I will be praying for his soul and family as well.

Praying for you as well :)

Brian Gill said...

As J.P. said, a very nice tribute.

And 'me too,' on the prayer.

Kendra said...

a very beautiful tribute to a priest who no doubt positively influenced many other people in his life also. RIP <3

Cathy said...

Alexander was one of my closest friends for 18 years. I miss him terribly. Vigil at 6:30 at Blessed Kateri Thu 3/15 and 6:30 Fri at Our Lady of Peace with the funeral at 10am Sat 3/17. I love you, Alex.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your thoughts and reflections about Fr. Alexander. Today I believe marks the one year anniversary of his passing, and I still miss him with all my heart. He was truly such a bright spirit and inspiring person in my life. God bless you, Fr. Alexander, pray for us.