Friday, 4 April 2014

Bishop Michael Pearce Lacey, Requiescat in pace

A few years ago, my Knights of Columbus Council organised our region's annual Clergy Appreciation Dinner and my Grand Knight gave me the honour of picking up and driving home His Excellency, Michael Pearce Lacey, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Toronto. Bishop Lacey has gone home to the Lord in his 97th year, on April 2, the anniversary of the death of John Paul II and incidentally, my own father 25 years ago.

Bishop LaceyBishop Lacey always came to our dinners and spoke; he was still going strong that night at the age of 94. He spoke about being alone in his condominium since his sister had died. He took up painting there but he also had a little ministry going. Every day at 11:00 AM, Bishop Lacey would celebrate Mass and the other retired Catholics in his condo would attend and a few others from time-to-time. He also was friends with and loved those children at Animus Productions just below this post. He always spoke about them and even visited their little house chapel and celebrated Mass there!

Driving him home that evening after dinner, we came by York Mills Road and Loretto Abbey and he spoke about his sisters who were Sisters there and how sad he was that there were so few now. He perked right up when I told him that there were Sisters but you had to hunt for them in places like Nashville and Ann Arbor and Cambridge, habited, prayerful Sisters in new orders rising from the ashes of the old. That made him happy to know that there was a restoration. He then spoke about the last forty years. He had been appointed pastor at Transfiguration of Our Lord Parish and was to build the church. After that. Archbishop Pocock appointed Father Lacey as Rector of St. Michael's Cathedral and put him in charge of the liturgical innovations of the Archbishop Bugnini's Concilium. Sitting in the passenger seat he said to me, "Oh we went to this seminar by the Domnicans and another plenary and all these conferences ... we were so enthused!" He suddenly became very quiet and I said, "Is everything okay, Your Excellency?" After a few seconds of more silence, he opined, "I think we went too far." 

Bishop Lacey was a good man and a good and faithful bishop. He spoke to me of his early vocation and his desire to always be a faithful priest and serve the Lord. On Our Lady's alleged appearing at Medjugorje, I expect he now knows one way or the other on its authenticity and on the matters of the liturgy and sacred architecture, he was clearly caught up in the unfortunate zeitgeist sweeping through Canada and the rest of the Catholic world, which I know for a fact, he regretted.

Bishop Michael Pearce Lacey, may the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome you and take you to the holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem. May choirs of angels welcome you and lead you to the bosom of Abraham; and where Lazarus is poor no longer may you find eternal rest.


Unknown said...

He sounds like a good man. I wonder if he would have been an auxiliary bishop while much of the wreckovations were done, or perhaps they were already done by 1979.

Vox Cantoris said...

Well, I was trying to be as subtle as I could, given the circumstances but alas, he lead it. He was the Rector that tore out the sanctuary at the Cathedral and was appointed by Pocock to implement the zeitgeist throughout the Archdiocese. He was a good man but in this, he was confused, not malicious. He did say to me, "we went too far."

JP said...

Thank you for posting this. I somehow missed this sad news.

Unknown said...

If he is responsible for the "re-orientation" of our churches, then his legacy is not one to be celebrated, no matter how strongly pro-life he was.