He made the evening a little bit brighter
(Br. Martin Humphreys, OFM, died Friday, November 20 at his residence, the St. John the Baptist friary. He was 94 years outdated and the senior of the province by age.)
Br. Gene Mayer didn’t mince phrases describing Br. Martin Humphreys: “He was a sort, mild man who could possibly be very cussed.”
This was the epitaph that started Marty’s Dec. 3 funeral in St. Joseph Chapel at St. John the Baptist Friary in Sharonville, the place he had lived in retirement since 2004. As a longtime fellow resident of SJB Friary, Gene ought to know. The phrases “variety” and “mild” have been echoed by most who attended the personal funeral, stored small over issues about Covid-19 and livestreamed on Fb.
Homilist Mark Soehner likened Marty to the topic of “The Lamplighter,” a nineteenth century Scottish poem. In it, an oldtimer making his nightly rounds within the city is remembered by author Robert Louis Stevenson as “the person who punches holes within the darkness.” It aptly describes Marty, who responded to the world’s inequities with acts of compassion and boldly artistic art work.
Greater than 50 years in the past, in his days as a porter at Duns Scotus School in Southfield, Mich., he went out of his technique to bolster the spirits of those that got here to the door, even giving them rides to Mass. When 12 households in hardship have been referred to Marty, he and Francis Williams gathered meals and clothes to create an outreach program that has endured to today and is now housed at Transfiguration Parish.
Marty’s concern for humanity was additionally mirrored in his summary work. He was prolific and completed, with works starting from exuberant and colourful to turbulent and darkish, relying upon the way in which he noticed the world that day. “It was usually obscure to many people,” Gene admitted in opening remarks.
The digicam on the funeral was fastened on the altar; misplaced in livestreaming have been the identification of audio system across the chapel and a view of the cantor, Chris Meyer. On a desk in entrance have been Marty’s ashes, draped in white, subsequent to a framed photograph of him with that acquainted eye-crinkling smile.
Brothers at SJB Friary lent their voices, with Brian Maloney studying from Daniel (“Those that have perception will shine just like the glow of the expanse of heaven, and people who lead the numerous to righteousness, like the celebrities endlessly and ever”), and Gabriel Balassone sharing the Prayers of Petition.
The Gospel Studying from Matthew 25 (“For I used to be hungry, and also you gave Me one thing to eat; I used to be thirsty, and also you gave Me one thing to drink; I used to be a stranger, and also you invited Me in…”) led Mark into his homily, and the poetic picture of a city’s lamplighter, “a easy man” whose work “wasn’t all that prestigious.”
“I’d wish to counsel to you that Br. Martin was that sort of man,” Mark stated, recalling Marty’s ministry as a cook dinner and a porter, a job he did for 29 years. “Throughout that point he helped individuals.” That straightforward, sweeping assertion summed up Marty’s efforts to welcome people on the door, provide counsel or comfort for his or her drawback, after which do one thing about it.
Mark remembered when he first arrived at Duns Scotus School together with his dad and mom. “Marty went out of his method to ensure I knew which entrance at that vast place to tug as much as, after which known as somebody to ensure they have been there to welcome me.” He at all times seen the candidate “who one way or the other didn’t slot in at first,” simply as he seen “many individuals who have been in determined want.” From these observations and in partnership with Francis Williams and laywomen grew the Poverty Program. “They might accumulate gently used clothes, in addition to foodstuffs and distribute it to the numerous women and men in Detroit who got here by after shedding a job, or have been caught in a vicious cycle of poverty.”
Mark recalled the judgment passage from the Gospel studying, the “separation between sheep and goats on the finish of issues,” with the one criterion being “works of mercy”. Simply as Jesus recognized with “those that are hungry, thirsty, a stranger, bare, in poor health or in jail,” so did Marty.
When individuals requested Mom Teresa why she cherished the poor, stated Mark, “she appreciated to understand their hand, slowly wiggle one finger at a time and clarify, “You-did-it-to-me,” referring to the “least of my brothers and sisters” passage in Matthew. “She wasn’t doing one thing for individuals; she was doing it for somebody: the poor and humble Jesus. And whenever you have been with Br. Martin, you may really feel these eyes of his twinkle with worth for you.”
In a while, Marty channeled that zeal and compassion into his work. “That turned his life within the second half of life, instructing of our religion and portray out of the effectively of his deep reference to God.” It was an expression of “what he knew with God.”
Humble and sort, Marty was amongst those that “dwell lives of grace…. They shine like the celebrities within the deep evening,” Mark stated, very like that lamplighter, “the person who punches holes within the darkness.”
Mark invited these watching to “let any struggling be remodeled” by the love of Jesus. “Assist me to note and love individuals who appear a bit misplaced. Jesus punches holes within the darkness of our lives. As we rejoice Br. Martin’s life and his new life with Christ, are you able to and I rise and do this for others?”
After the final strains of the closing hymn, “O God Past All Praising”, Gene blew out the candle, and the chapel emptied. The livestream digicam was nonetheless educated to the entrance, the place the framed photograph of Marty sat, mild from above reflecting the picture of stained glass on his face. It one way or the other appeared applicable.