Diocese of San Bernardino
There are people that you just never forget for one reason or another. There are some people that you would like to forget, but never do. Other people come into the family and to the workplace and they don’t know about the people that have been here before. In 10 years we have had a lot of people come and work here and they know the O’Neil room, seen the picture there, but don’t him. It’s always good to stop at time like this and do some remembering.
I think we all have some fond memories of Bishop Dennis. I know his family does. Even though he was with us for such a short time with our family in the Diocese, he made such an impact on us. There are countless stories of how he made us feel like we were his family. He made us feel happy. He made us laugh. He could laugh at himself and it loosened up the public. He had a tremendous love for justice and a prophetic voice for some of the poorest in the church. He is probably partially responsible for our present pope being pope, because Pope Francis has the heart of Dennis O’Neil. I like to think that he had a role up there in having the spirit lead the cardinals to choose someone like Francis, who is a man of Dennis’ heart. It has been such a great gift for us.
|Bishop Barnes with Bishop Dennis O'Neil's family|
In 10 years, time has a way of healing the heavy pain, but it doesn't mean we don’t miss him. We still include him as if he were here. The person is still here among us because of the impact he made. So we are brought back here to remember him, sometimes with a tear, but most of the time with a smile.
God has favored us so much to allow someone like Dennis O’Neil to come into our lives. We can be better because of that. When you really look at it, all he was doing is was what the Gospel tells us to do: He was leading us to the Lord.
The Lord is the one who includes us like family. He is the one who sets challenges before us for us to grow. The Lord is the one who reminds us how gentle we are to be and how much fun we are to have with the life he has given us. What Dennis was doing in his ministry here was leading us, walking with us all, to the Lord Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life. As we come across people like Dennis O’Neil, and hopefully like all of us, we can come to know the Lord even better.
Someone gave me last night a quote by John Donne and I do wish to share it with. “I shall not live till I see God; and when I have seen him, I shall never die.” And so we know that our brother Dennis is alive.