Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

I wrote a post on Sunday several hours after hearing of Bishop Kelsey’s death. In those hours, in our household of brothers, we were all in terrible shock and dealt privately with that feeling of loss. On Sunday night around 9, we had a service for Jim and on Monday morning we went to Mass at the sisters’ house presided by our own wonderful Bishop Marc Andrus, who not only worked with Jim in the house of bishops but was a dear friend.

I was amazed how each of us, in grief, supported one another. I felt God’s presence among us. Christ’s living presence is the comfortor. By having a religious context and a community context, we have space for loss and a language for grief.

We will have another Mass for Jim tomorrow night at our house. Our minister provincials will go up to Michigan later for the funeral. I feel that through these services, we honor Bishop Kelsey in a good way.

Growing up, I did not feel that we had this way of honoring our dead. Emotional and spiritual support are part of the infrastructure of religious life and for this I am thankful.

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Bishop Kelsey died today in a car accident.

I am in shock and grief.

The brothers and sisters were with him just over a week ago. He had come to California to be with us for a week for our joint meeting. Just a week before that me and three other brothers were with him in Northern Michigan. We were visiting to get to know his diocese and the local community and to learn about mutual ministry. The Society of St. Francis was joining Jim in working with this community.

He was such a visionary. There aren’t a lot of parishiners in the smaller churches up there and Jim was developing an educational and ministry model to support these congregations with new ways of involving everyone into ministry. Being with him was to be excited and energized . He truly embraced the challenges facing the church and led us into new ways of understanding church ministry.

He had joined the Third Order of SSF and I was thrilled about this. I found it exciting to see a bishop so enthusiastic about Franciscan principals and their implications in Episcopal life. His understanding of moral justice and in God’s love for everyone was an inspiration.

My prayers go out for his wife Mary – my throat chokes to think of her loss – his children and for the whole community in Upper Michigan and the Episcopal Church. He was one of our best. This a great loss.

The picture I use as my header is one I took in Upper Michigan from our trip there last month.

Thank you Jim, for your generous hospitality, your warmth, and all you have done for the Upper Peninsula and the gift of your presence in all whom you have touched. May you rest in God’s peace.

br. jacob, ssf
03 Jun 07

follow this link for sermons and other writings from Bishop Kelsey

More memorials here & here


O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our brother James. We thank you for giving him to us, his family and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered: Accept our prayers on behalf of your servant James and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Father of all, we pray to you for James, and for all those whom we love but see no longer. Grant to them eternal rest. Let light perpetual shine upon them. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen


from left to right: brother jacob, bishop kelsey, brother christopher, brother donald

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I’m in the middle of packing books, boxes and boxes of them. I’m moving from the friary in San Francisco to the one in New York next month. I don’t know what to do with all of these books – one must think of poverty and simplicity of course but reading is a form of prayer for me. These pages around me are simply overwhelming, thousands of pages of prayers. I’ve decided to only bring with me the books I haven’t read yet still I think it will a couple of boxes.

I’ve just put down Meditations on the Tarot – its not as heretical as it sounds. Published anonomysly, it’s a book of contemplation on the Christian life using the archetypes of the tarot to discuss aspects of religious vocation. I got it because of the glowing comments from Bede Griffiths, Basil Pennington, Thomas Keating and Hans Urs von Bathasar. It’s fascinating and I have notes where the the writing is really on the mark for me but damn it’s dense. At two hundred pages in, I need a break. Also I’m tired of sorting through all the goblygook and discussions of hermeticism to get to the good parts. Reading this tome is a committed relationship. With packing and trying to get things done this week, Mr. Anonomys and I need some space.

So I went to the library to clear more space and because I had a stack of overdue materials and picked up Lessons in Becoming Myself by Ellen Burstyn. She is almost overwhelmingly radiant on the cover. It looks to be a great read – a celebrity memoir of spiritual discovery. She is one of the most gifted actors – her performance in requiem for a dream was one of the most astonshings things I’ve seen on screen.

She writes at the beginning: From the point of view of a laborer int he fields of God, I thank Him/Her for not rolling over onto me this day and for allowing me the opportunity to look up as I carry the burden of my ignorance and say thank you. Thank you for the remarkable gift of life, rememberance, and prayer.

– jacob, 02 June 07

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