There was so much suffering,
so much anguish
so much anger
so much sadness …
but so so much love, compassion and caring
for those of us who walked together.
Priest Brian McHugh
I’ve posted on Facebook, as I do every year, the names of those who were friends, or seminary classmates, or acquaintances, or persons to whom I was privileged to care for pastorally, and who died of the various complications of AIDS.
There are 81 names. The journey of those years started for me in 1982, when I was a parish priest in Cincinnati. A friend called and asked me to bury his lover … whose Roman Catholic church wouldn’t because he was Gay.
I am proud of the Episcopal Church, and of all those other churches and other organizations who had strong and loving outreach to those suffering with AIDS. I still struggle to forgive all those, especially Presidents and politicians, who ignored and condemned.
Of all the years, now 45, that I have spent in ministry, it was in those years of AIDS, in those with AIDS and those who cared, that I most deeply experienced the reality of Love and understood and embraced the God whose nature that Love is.
In all the sadness, I am grateful for all that amazing Love.
I remember you all, my friends. Thanks for being my teachers.