This web site is a memorial to those individuals who were passionate about the reform of the
Roman Catholic liturgy as set forth in Sacrosanctum Concilium (the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)
and who now, in eternal life, worship the God whom they served in this life.

James T. Meehan, SJ

James T. Meehan, SJ
July 10, 1932 - May 21, 2012

James T. Meehan, SJ, entered the Society on July 30, 1950. He went to the Philippines in 1954 and prepared men for the priesthood at the Loyola House of Studies and was a founding member of the Arrupe International Residence. He was ordained a priest on June 20, 1963, the same year Vatican II promulgated Sacrosanctum Concilium. He studied liturgy in Trier, Germany. His contribution to animating the field of liturgy is indispensable. He taught liturgy in several institutions and seminaries. He was instrumental for organizing the first National Meetings of Diocesan Directors of Liturgy in the Philippines. He was awarded the Sacrosanctum Concilium Award by the NMDDL in 2010.

Homily given at the Mass of Christian Burial for James Meehan, SJ, 
preached by Thomas H. O’Gorman, SJ, May 26, 2012.

This week the Church is celebrating the last week of the Easter Season. Last Sunday here in the Philippines we celebrated the Ascension of the Lord. On this coming Sunday we will celebrate Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit. So, still in the Easter Season we are here this morning to celebrate the passing from this life of our friend and brother, Jim Meehan.

From the moment last Monday afternoon when I learned of Jim’s death and even this morning as I was preparing for our Eucharist here, I have been reading the liturgical texts both at Masses and in the Prayer of the Hours. I have been reading them as if Jim were standing beside me. I can honestly say that never before have I felt with such emotion the depth of the meaning of our Easter liturgy.

Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost. We celebrate the Resurrection with faith that Christ has been raised to a new life, and we also celebrate our faith in Christ’s pledge that we will have our share in the resurrection. We celebrate the Ascension of Christ with its message of joyful hope that we too will share in Christ’s total victory over death. Celebrating Pentecost we believe that we are waiting for the gift of the Spirit that has been promised to keep us united with Christ and with one another in love. All of this Jim now enjoys in a way that we can only imagine but which all of us hope will be ours too when we are called to enter fully into the joy of the Lord’s love as Jim has been called. That is reason for rejoicing and I feel sure that Jim is rejoicing as he celebrates his Easter.

Yes, we can rejoice with Jim, but we also know that we experience sadness at what is a great loss for us who knew Jim. Last Tuesday while I was here looking at the body of Jim, there was a woman standing with me and she was in tears. Of course, I was also moved to tears. I was reminded of the tears of Jesus when he saw the body of his friend, Lazarus, and when he saw the tears of Mary and Martha. Our tears are in no way a denial of our belief in the resurrection. They are tears that speak of our love for a wonderful friend. Our tears and our sadness are signs of our love for Jim and that love will never die! Perhaps as the weeks and years go by the tears will stop flowing, but there will be no end to the love that today’s sadness shows. Let the tears flow. The love that they express will never stop flowing.

So with so many of you I do mourn the passing away of Jim who has been such a friend. I’m not ashamed to say that I will miss Jim. Together we entered the Society of Jesus in 1950 and together we came to the Philippines in 1954. Together we studied philosophy (in Latin!) in Cebu from 1954 to 1957, the year that Magsaysay died. Jim then spent three years in Zamboanga teaching high school boys while I was doing more or less the same for high school boys at San Jose Seminary in Quezon City. We came together again when we studied Theology in the States for four years just as the Church was experiencing the Spirit of the Second Vatican Council. Those were exciting years for us. Jim began to get interested in liturgy at that time, an interest that as you know marked so much of his ministry. Together Jim and I were ordained priests in 1963 (next year we would celebrate together fifty years of our priesthood, something that I talked about with Jim just a little over a week ago). For a couple of years we were separated while Jim did his graduate studies in liturgy in Germany and I did graduate studies in Rome. After those years of study we were back together again here in the Philippines at this very Loyola House of Studies. And as an aside I can’t overlook the years that Jim and I were together at Arrupe International Residence, where Jim was one of the founding community members.

I won’t go into all of the other changes that moved us here and there in different Jesuit communities and I won’t go into all the details of various ministries. But none of them weakened the sense of brotherhood and friendship that the two of us lived for so many years. In a sense Jim has been the only “batch mate” of mine for these recent past years. Will I miss him? Of course, and I know that I am not the only one here who will miss him. Your presence here this morning is proof of that.

Now may I take this opportunity to address some of you in particular?

There are so many Sisters here, and there were many more of your companions at the wake Masses of the past few days. We know how devoted Jim was to so many of you. The love and care that Jim showed you both in the classroom and in your own communities was outstanding. His concern for you Sisters was no secret! And as Jim’s friend and brother I want to thank you for the love you gave to Jim. It really energized him. Thank you for that!

To my Jesuit brothers: I have referred to Jim as a friend and as a brother. In our 32nd General Congregation of almost thirty years ago there is the challenging reminder that “. . . it is our community ideal that we should be companions not only in the sense of fellow workers in the apostolate, but truly brothers and friends in the Lord.” As I thank Jim for being a brother and a friend in the Lord, I ask him to help all of us in our communities to really be brothers and friends to one another.

Finally there is someone whom I wish to address who is not here with us. I know that what I say here will be shared, so I know that Jim’s sister, Peggy, will see what I say. Peggy, I know how much you will miss Jim, and I know how close he was to you and to your family. I condole with you, and I want to thank you for all the care you showed for Jim, especially during his last visit to the States. Saying good-bye to him then must have been difficult, but I know that he kept in contact with you (thanks to Magic Jack!). I am absolutely sure he is still loving you just as you still love him. Peggy, my heart goes out to you.

What can I say now to Jim? Jim, I thank you for so much. I thank you for being the friend and the brother that you have been. I thank you for being so good! Now as I promise to continue to keep you in my prayers I ask you to pray for all of us. Thank you!

My last word: Santo subito!