Monday, September 24, 2007

Update as of September 24, 2007

"Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with your Spirit and love.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that all my life may only be a radiance of Thee."
-Mother Teresa

Hello Everyone,

In this world there are so many beautiful and wonderful people. I've heard it said that when you go through an experience like this God is closer to you than ever. This was clearly true for me as I looked out and saw His presence everywhere. When I looked down from Maria's bedroom window on the night after she died to see so many candles lit and to hear the rosary being said I thought what a beautiful way to honor Maria and her story—by honoring Christ and His Mother. For certain They and Maria were there in our midst. On the following nights, to see the beautiful luminaries lit up in the neighborhoods and then to see the numbers of people who lined the streets after Maria’s funeral was inspiring. I knew God was taking care of us all. Thank you. Thank you to all of you.

Please continue to keep Maria and her story alive in your hearts. For a little girl, she had such a great impact, and I believe that is because she was always open to God's love and graces. Through her, He was able to share them with all of us. Keeping that candle glowing in our lives is the greatest tribute we can give to her and to Christ.

Many have asked us to post Fr. Tim's homily from Maria's mass. It is below.

Please remember all children who suffer from cancer and their families in your prayers.

God bless,
Ed and Megan

Fr. Tim Gareau’s Homily
Funeral Mass for Maria McNamara
St. Raphael Church
July 18, 2007

Mass of the Resurrection for Maria

I would like to open the homily today
with all of us gathered here this morning
together let us express a sign of our love and support
to Megan and Ed, Eddie, Aidan and Blake.

My dear friends in Christ,
our dear Maria’s struggle is ended.
There is no more sickness and suffering,
doctors or chemotherapy.
She is complete and whole once again
as our Lord Jesus Christ has called her home.

She has fought the good fight.
She has run the race.
She has kept the faith
and a merited crown awaits her –
the crown of glory in Jesus Christ our Lord.
She now sings and dances,
runs and laughs,
and maybe even jumps rope or plays duck duck goose
with all the angels and saints in heaven.

The movie that was produced early in Maria’s illness
called Miracles for Maria was just beautiful.
We all looked and prayed and hoped for a miracle – didn’t we?
As we put our focus in that direction,
I hope that we didn’t miss something extremely important:

Maria WAS the miracle through her response to Jesus
and His response to her.

A seven year old girl was called home
in the seventh month of the year 0-7.
Maria was and always will be a special expression
of God’s love and presence to all of us.

Maria WAS the miracle!
Our Lord is calling all of us today
to look to the miracle OF Maria.
Look to the hand of God in her life
and experience His grace shining through it!

Maria knew, loved, and embraced the cross.
She was given a tremendous cross
that literally took the breadth away from
her family, parish, community, and well beyond
what our minds could possibly imagine.

Maria had a small cross –
the one that was in her casket
and is now on her casket.

When she was most in pain,
excruciating pain, I might add,
Maria took those precious little hands of hers
and wrapped them around her cross
and held on as tightly as she possibly could
so as to gather as much strength that she needed
to endure another bout of pain.

The suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross
and the suffering of Maria were joined as one.
Maria knew the cross and now she knows the glory.

My dear friends,
hold on to the cross through your suffering.
Let it give you strength and endurance
as it did for Maria.

This gift of our salvation,
The cross of Jesus Christ,
has brought us to our ultimate destiny –
the resurrection, eternal life, eternal happiness and peace.

We see the Miracle of the cross in Maria’s life,
how it gave her what she needed
to endure her illness to the end.

Another miracle was her relationship with Jesus.

Maria never left Jesus
and Jesus never left Maria.
She was steadfast in her relationship with God.
Maria never wavered in her love for God.
“Would you like Holy Communion, Maria?” I would ask.
With those beautiful eyes, headband in her hair,
and rounded cheeks,
in her gentle spirit she would respond:
“Oh, yes, Father!”

“Would you like to be anointed with the holy oil and prayed over?”
“Oh, yes, Father!”

And then we would pray and peace would always enter in
as Our Lord Jesus was giving our precious Maria
another sacramental hug!
His grace was consuming her soul!

Maria loved Jesus and Jesus loved Maria.
The miracle of their relationship was bigger than life
and was wrapped in eternal love.

I’ve heard it said:
“I’m done with God!”
“What kind of God would do this?”
“Why, why, why?”
The pain and heartache that we experience
is so consuming, so penetrating
that we don’t know how to handle it,
so we lash out at God.
We blame God for this.

The Lord will help us in our anger.
The Lord will help us in our heartache.
He will help us in our pain.

God did not will this for Maria,
He carried her through it.
He lifted her up and gave her strength.
Jesus held Maria in His loving arms
and walked with her the journey that she endured.

So many prayers went up for healing (mine included).
We prayed hard.
We prayed long.
We prayed rosary after rosary.
We prayed often.

God did not abandon our prayer.
God did not abandon Maria.
He guided us along Maria’s path of holiness.
He guided us along Maria’s path to heaven.
He was with her and us every step of the way.

My dear friends,
look to the miracle – look to Maria.
She never left Jesus
and Jesus never left her.
My precious, precious child, Jesus promises,
there are one set of footprints
given to all those who are faithful.

A third miracle is the miracle of the saints.
Just prior to her death, Maria asked how to [spell
the name] of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.
Blessed Kateri is always pictured holding the cross.
Maria was called home by God on Kateri’s feast day
and Maria’s cross was on her pillow next to her precious face.
Kateri means Catherine in her native Mohawk tongue.
Several months ago, after waking up one morning,
Maria asked Megan [if she knew] St. Catherine of Laboure
because she had a dream about her.
In the dream, Maria saw a beautiful stained glass window
of St. Catherine’s image [and next to her was an Indian girl].

Megan asked Maria how she knew it was St. Catherine.
Maria said it was the person standing behind her
in her dream that told her the name.
Catherine Laboure started the Miraculous Medal
because of her love of the Blessed Mother.

We prayed to Blessed Mother Teresa
throughout Maria’s illness.
Megan worked with Blessed Mother Teresa
prior to meeting Ed and taking his hand in marriage
and having a family with him.

What did Blessed Mother Teresa give to Megan?
A miraculous medal!
The very medal that Maria wore throughout her illness.

What young child knows such names as
St. Catherine Laboure or Kateri Tekakwitha?
It all connects to the communion of saints
and another miracle of Maria.
My friends, look to the miracle,
look to Maria.
A final miracle, amidst many more,
is the miracle of family and community.

Megan and Ed,
your constant and faithful love for Maria
touched all of our hearts.
You did all that you could possibly do
and much more besides.
Hold on to that.
Believe in it
and never waver from it.
You shared your story openly with the larger community
and throughout the world.
So many lives have been touched by you and Maria.

Jesus established family and community.
This was his mission and primary purpose.

Thank you for drawing us in
and sharing your story with us.
Maria’s parish community, school community,
neighborhood, city, and well beyond, know that precious smile
and gift of faith that has carried you through this difficult time.

We will continue to walk with you.
We will continue to do what we can in Maria’s memory.

God has given us a precious miracle in Maria McNamara.
We will not lose sight of Maria’s ability to hold fast to the cross.
To remain close to Jesus as He remains close.
To know that we are an important part
of the community of saints as they help us still.
And, through family and community,
we can find the strength that we need
to endure some very difficult challenges that come our way.

We thank God for the miracle of Maria.
As our prayers move from prayers FOR Maria
to prayers FROM Maria may we find strength and hope
that God has blessed us with the miracle of her life
and, perhaps, with miracles yet to come.

God Bless you!


Anonymous said...

I was glad to see the update and so thankful that you shared the homily. I told others how compelling it was to hear, but now people can read it for themselves! Thinking of you often and continuing to check on all the families on the foundation website daily. Just wish there was more I could do to make a difference. (We did eat at Chile's tonight for the St. Jude benefit!) Sending prayers and comfort as each passing day must find you missing Maria even more!
Paula Koziol

Anonymous said...

Dear Ed and Megan,
How nice of you to share Father Tim's funeral homily with those of us who couldn't attend.
You are an inspiration to all. May God continue to bless you with the "miracle of Maria."

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We have been wondering how you and your family are doing and we always remember the anniversary on the 14th of each month.

Go out and be Maria's voice for all children around. The organization is just the beginning of the potential you have to truly be your daughter's voice. You are all a wonderful family; I pray that you continue Maria's legacy and that your sons, although the baby is still young, grow up with truly wonderful memories of their sister.

May God continue to bless you each and every day and may you continue to practice his works.

God Bless all of you!
The Hite Family

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,
I am lost for words after reading Father Tim's homily. It brought me right back to that moment and more importantly, it brought me back to Maria. Father Tim is so right when he says, "do not waiver". The Grace of God will be witnessed by those who continue to be grateful to Maria for allowing us to see the miracle through her love.


Anonymous said...

I wish I had the words to fully express the impact Maria and your family have had on our community, our church, our school, and more importantly... our children. Her faith and your grace in dealing with her illness impacted so many other lives. As Fr. Tim said so elequently, Maria was the miracle.

Know that we still pray for you and think of Maria and her example of faith and courage often. We will not forget her.

Carol M.

Anonymous said...

Dear Megan and Ed,
Father Tim spoke the truth when he said that Maria was the miracle. Right now I am looking at a thank you note that Maria made for me. On the cover she drew a picture of herself. She is wearing a purple dress with matching purple shoes. Her arms are outstretched and she has a big smile on her face. In the upper corner is a bright yellow sun. Inside Maria thanks me for holy water and a necklace that I sent her from Ireland. She ends the note by saying that she will pray for me. Imagine that! Here was a child struggling with a serious illness but yet wanting to pray for other people. I find comfort knowing that I have my own personal little saint up in heaven praying for me. Take care, God bless, and thank you for giving Maria to us.
Colleen O'Shaughnessy

Anonymous said...

Mr and Mrs. McNamara,
When I was lined up on the streets at Maria's Funeral I couldn't stop crying or remembering her. I saw to little girls holding signs shaped like sunflowers. They read: "We miss you Maria!" and "God Bless Maria!" My heart warmed when I saw those signs. Many people loved Maria, and still do. I still remember Maria and her smiling face. Then when she talked all you could do was laugh. She was so funny. I love her and I miss her.
Forever in my heart,
Maggie, 8th Grader at St. Raphaels and fellow neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Ed and Megan,
Thinking of your sweet Maria and imagining her and Sophie being together. I hope you take comfort in that. I continue to offer prayers for your family. I also continue to tell everyone and anyone Maria and Sophie's stories in hopes that someone will find a cure for this horrific disease.

Anonymous said...

You are still in so many thoughts and prayers. I can't begin to tell you how much I think about your family and wish you peace.

Avon Lake

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story and your daughter with the world. I live in Illinois and prayed for Maria. I cried when she passed away. It brings me peace that she communicated about St Catherine. It brings me peace that there were two rainbows that day of Sophie's vistation. I will continue to pray for you and your family and pray that you feel Maria's loving grace every day of your life.

Anonymous said...

It was so nice to have an update from you. We're still praying for you. Thanks again for sharing your story with the world.

Prayers from North Carolina...

PS This year I'm buying my Christmas cards from St. Judes, in
memory of Maria and Sophie.

Anonymous said...

It's a beautiful thing to see Maria's memory live on through the foundation. As we saw with the out pour of people at the Ice Cream Social. Maria may be in heaven with all the saints, but will never be forgotten here on earth! She will live forever in the hearts of many!
We miss you Maria!
The Mohar's

Anonymous said...

After reading through the homily from your beautiful Maria's mass, I wanted to leave you a note in your guestbook to let you know that you were in my thoughts today.

I also wanted to tell you about a place that is very special to me. If you've never visited the Cross in the Woods in Indian River, Michigan, you might like to check out their website The reason I thought you might be interested is because in 2001, they dedicated a shrine to Kateri Tekakwitha since she was also noted for erecting crosses in the woods. It is a truly beautiful and peaceful place to visit if you are ever in northern Michigan.

I wish you comfort and peace.

Anonymous said...

Just letting you know that you continue to be a part of our prayers. I pray that God continues to give you strength.

Anonymous said...

I continue to pray for your family especially at this time of the year. You all have such faith. Please know that people continue to pray for you and your family. Thank you for sharing the homily.

Anonymous said...

God Bless you and your Family
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Maria is not forgotten. She has had a profound impact on my life, and we have never met. I think of your family every day and pray for you and for Maria.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of your family during this holiday season. May you be blessed with wonderful memories.

Anonymous said...

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May your holiday season be blessed and filled with joy; may you find peace.
Know that you and your beatiful Maria are in our prayers.
God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Maria! Hope you are enjoying your time w/Jesus today.

Anonymous said...

We wanted you to know you are always in our thoughts...especially today.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Maria.