Though the thoughts that we fill our minds with are often fleeting and fading, the love that we outpour from our hearts goes and grows onward and outward forever and ever.
I am reminded of this timeless, transcendent truth when I re-watch this video of my grandfather Guy Nicholas Perenich, aka “Pappy” or “Papster,” who was called home to the Heavenly Kingdom on May 11th, four years ago.
Towards the end of his 93-year-long life, he suffered from severe dementia that caused him to forget even the names of his own children and grandchildren. Yet there were two things that he never forgot: the Notre Dame fight song and the Hail Mary.
Indeed, those little prayers we learned as children are more than just simple words… If recited frequently and fervently, they have the power and potential to rearrange the dendrites of our synapses, refresh the depths of our spirits, and ultimately redirect the very destiny of our souls.
After all, what else could infuse consolation, inspire compassion and ignite conviction deep within one’s innermost being? How else could those sparkling eyes and earnest smiles of my amazing Pappy spring up amidst his otherwise seemingly somber circumstances, if not from another otherworldly, sublime, supernatural Source?
And so, in honor of the life and legacy of my Pappy that continues to live and live on, I cheerfully challenge you…
Pray unceasingly. And never underestimate the importance of your profound prayers:
“When you pray with love in your hearts, your prayers are eternal in value and affect souls, world conditions, and the propensity of God’s Mercy. The love in your heart when you pray lights up the world with the Spirit of Truth, making all things new.”*
Serve unreservedly. And never underestimate the influence of your selfless service:
“Each moment is your chance to store up treasures for eternity… How you loved will never be forgotten…. Love gives and doesn’t stop giving. On the day of judgment it will be found in the hearts of those you touched.”**
Love unconditionally. And never underestimate the impact of your limitless love:
“Human connections of love and affection and care are permanent. Those connections create permanent light which lives on in the next world… Create many, many connections of love and affection because those will live forever.”***
Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
And may the soul of Guy Nicholas Perenich, and the souls of all our beloved family members and friends, through the infinite Forgiveness of Christ and tender Mercy of God, rest in Peace.
*Mary, Refuge of Holy Love on via holylove.org
**Jesus in God’s Blue Book 2 via sofc.org
***Jesus to ‘Anne, apostle of the Returning King’ in the New Locutions via DirectionForOurTimes.com
Note: The following is an edited version of the full Eulogy I wrote and had the honor of delivering for my “Pappy,” Guy Nicholas Perenich… Enjoy and please keep him in your prayers, and be assured that your smallest, slightest prayers and sacrifices for those who are still awaiting full entry into Eternal Glory can go SUCH a long way!
Pappy, you were a character…
I’ll never forget some of your classic catch-phrases like, “Oye Ve!” “Bill’s in the mail” and “Better than yesterday, not as good as tomorrow!” Whether it was warning us about the infamous “itchy scalp” or explaining to us that “Nina is as Nina does” you always knew how to make us happy, Pappy. Even up until your last few years, as your Alzheimer’s progressed, you never forgot the words “Hail Mary, full of grace” as we would pray the rosary or “Cheer Cheer for Old Notre Dame” as we would clap and sing the fight song together. And surrounded by those you deeply loved, you never lost that spark in your eyes, that glow in your face, that warmth in your smile. Though you couldn’t always remember the right words to say, you never forgot how to make us laugh.
Yes indeed, Pappy you were a character.
Pappy, you were a fighter.
From the tennis court to the courtroom, you had an intensity, a relentlessness, a fire within you, down to the your very core. Your humble, “5-foot-nothing, 100-and-nothing-pound” stature didn’t stop you from serving in the Navy for 2 years during WW2, surviving even a Torpedo attack on your ship in the Pacific. Though you were just like your strong-willed, hardworking Italian family growing up in New York during the Great Depression, you were also a Fighting Irish.
Yes, Pappy you were a fighter.
Pappy, you were a giver.
I’ll never forget the “check wars” that used to ensue after a meal at Carrabba’s or Longhorn Steakhouse when you would insist that my dad to use your American Express card to pay. (Here, I should probably apologize for all the times your grandchildren used your credit card to buy snacks at Innisbrook. But somehow I know you would’ve been disappointed if we hadn’t.) Still, your generosity wasn’t limited to just your finances: you were generous most of all with your time… with your love. Truly, your 9 children, 27 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and the joy they brought you are living proof of that timeless truth, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” Even my own life, my own tennis career, my own extroverted and theatrical personality, and next week, my own graduation from the university of Notre Dame would never have been made possible without you.
Yes, Pappy, you were a giver.
Pappy, you were, like all of us, a human being.
And the story of your life is not the story of God’s perfection, but of God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness, and God’s love. Indeed, the Image of the Divine Mercy, which hung over your bed and upon your wall for the final years of your life says it all. It is an image of Christ holding up His hand not in angry punishment, but in gentle blessing. The inscription simply reads: “Jesus I trust in You.”
Yes Pappy, you were a character, a fighter, a giver, a father, and grandfather to us and a beloved son of God. We love you and we’re going to miss you but now we entrust you to God’s Infinite Love and Mercy until the day our sorrow becomes joy and we are together again in Paradise, as we pray:
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I trust in You.
RIP Guy Nicholas Perenich
March 24th, 1925-May 11th, 2018
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
Eternal rest grant unto him, Oh Lord, and perpetual light shine upon him. And may he and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.