The Greatest Vacation — Funeral for Angela Ernst, 88

In the summer of 1923, when Angie was just eight months old, the Ernst family embarked for a new life in America. Little Angie traveled simply, but probably quite comfortably, in a basket, a memento that she kept among her possessions for the rest of her life. I think we can easily romanticize what it was like to immigrate to this country back then. We do not think about how intimidating, how daunting, how unnerving it was for people to leave behind what was well-known to come and live in a whole new world. I’m told that Mr. and Mrs. Ernst were not initially thrilled about life on these shores, but eventually they warmed-up to it, embraced this land and its people, and it became home for them.

I’m told that Angie was full of life and fun and love towards her family and friends for all these past eighty-eight years that she lived here in Marshfield. Yet, a wanderlust, a desire for travel, to see new places and meet new people, was always a part of her, whether it was with her brother Joseph, or later with her sister Rose. Angie traveled east to Europe multiple times and visited family in the old country. She traveled out west and backpacked in the mountains. She traveled further west still and enjoyed the beaches of Hawaii. She traveled north to Canada and south to Mexico, and wherever she went she sought out the Lord in His houses, His beautiful churches. Angie lived her life close to Jesus Christ and His Church with a great love for others that is reflected in your love for her. Therefore, I am confident that Angie is now enjoying the greatest adventure of all her travels. Every interesting, beautiful, and friendly place we can travel to on earth reflects something of Heaven, yet none of them compare. The journey to Heaven is the greatest of all vacations.

We all have a natural aversion to death, and that’s a healthy thing. But sometimes this aversion can be too great of an anxiety.  Even with our Christian faith, the idea of dying and leaving behind what is well-known to go and live in a whole new world can feel intimidating, daunting, and unnerving. Yet there is no cause for us to fear or grieve like people who see no hope. Instead let us remember this, if you and I live in Christ, dying shall be the greatest adventure of our lives. Do no be afraid to be comforted by the truth. It’s a wonderful thing to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico, as Angie did several times. But how much better must it be to travel to an encounter with Our Lady of Guadalupe herself. It’s fun to visit Jesus in His many earthly houses as Angie liked to do. But how much better must it be to visit Jesus in the Father’s house. I trust that Angie is now fine, “just fine,” as she would say, but just in case her journeying to Heaven continues let us help her with our prayers, especially at this Mass for her.

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One Response to “The Greatest Vacation — Funeral for Angela Ernst, 88”

  1. Katie Reigel Says:

    Beautifully done, Father!!! I enjoyed reading this!!!!

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