First harvest of
the reflective life of Kilian McGowan, C.P.
In this issue we honor Father Kilian McGowan, who died on July 12th, 1998, at 83 years of age. He was the editor of Compassion for 14 years. On July 16th, we celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial for him at Saints Joseph and Michael Church, here in Union City, attended by a large gathering of family and friends.
A few months before he died, Fr. Kilian told me he was resigning as editor and was not well enough to edit the next issue of Compassion. So I told him I would do it. After the issue was published he rallied somewhat, and I asked him if he would like to edit the next issue of the magazine as his farewell.
"O.K. On one condition," he jokingly responded, "You keep your hands off it." I'll try to honor his request by letting him speak for himself this time around.
For many years, Fr. Kilian faithfully kept a spiritual diary containing his own reflections and prayers, which he told me to look over after he died, if I liked. I thought our readers also might like to look into the soul of this good Passionist priest.
Fr. Kilian was a reflective man whose keen eyes took in the world of politics, the church, and the ordinary events of life with unwavering interest. He also kept a careful eye on his own spiritual journey. "I'm trying to be more alert and responsive to God each day and in each event... My prayer is simply that my heart may become more and more like that of the Lord Jesus. If this happens, all else will follow..."
"I'd like to leave some kind of legacy of reflection," Father Kilian wrote in his diary. A legacy of reflection. Isn't that a gift our hurried, cluttered world could use? Maybe Fr. Kilian, whom we respected and loved, can help us appreciate from his own reflections what a treasure a reflective life can be.
Fr Victor Hoagland,
Homily at the Mass of Christian Burial for Father Kilian
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