Madagascar: Brothers of Antsirabe
Saint Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Priest and Martyr
The celebration of the Requiem Mass for Br Charles Howard, former Superior General, began in the chapel of St Joseph’s College, Sydney, at 10:45 on 24 January. The Archbishop of Adelaide and president of the Episcopal Conference, Archbishop Philip Wilson presided.
Br Jeffrey Crowe, Provincial of Sydney Province, gave the welcome. The coffin of Br Charles was carried in procession by the members of the community of Campbelltown, where he had spent his last years.
At the beginning of the celebration, Br Julian Casey, Provincial de Melbourne, lit the paschal candle, symbol of the Risen Christ. The archbishop sprinkled the coffin with holy water and then some symbols were placed on it. First, four persons very significant for Br Charles: Margaret Geaney (friend), Maureen Kearney, (nurse), Mary Shanahan RSCJ and Noni Mitchel IBVM (like him, leaders of religious congregations) laid out a white cloth, symbol of his baptism. Br Emili Turú, Superior General, placed a copy of the Constitutions, calling to mind words written by Br Charles: “We have the Constitutions which can serve us as guide and inspiration, seeing that together we are trying to follow Christ asMary did, in his love for the Father and for all people”. Br Richard Dunleavy, one of his General Council, laid down a Bible. Corinne McPhee, Health Coordinator for the Brothers, produced a rosary as symbol of his living of the motto “All to Jesus for Mary”. The last symbol was the family portrait carried by his brothers, John and Jim Howard.
Br Séan Sammon, on behalf of the Brothers, and Clare Howard, Br Charles’ niece, gave moving eulogies, recalling positive and relevant aspects of his life. Archbishop Wilson, his former student, shared some personal aspects and made some very appropriate comments on the Gospel.
The prayers of the faithful came from persons close to him: Sr Gail Reneker, former Superior General of the Marist Sisters, Br Desmond Murphy, for the Marist Brothers, Tricia Bainbridge, his cousin; Ross Tarlington, current Director of St Joseph’s College, and Br Marius Woulfe, of the same profession group.
Other persons linked to Br Charles took part in the offertory procession: another two cousins, Maureen and Denise Howard, and Kadiatu Bangura and Remi Tirang, friends of the family.
The Magnificat was sung in thanksgiving after communion, and the Sub Tuum, a traditional Marist canticle, at the end to accompany his mortal remains. The coffin was accompanied by his family to the exterior door and then by students of the college following the college tradition for deceased Brothers associated with St Joseph’s. The province had prepared a booklet with a brief biography of Br Charles and some testimonies, and this was distributed to all in attendance.
Lastly, some Brothers and family members accompanied the remains to the crematorium. Br Jeffrey Crowe, Provincial, spoke some words, Br Séan Sammon read article 38 of the Constitutions, “With Mary of the Fiat”, and Br Emili Turú said the final prayer.
The first Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, the Resurrection was then recited, and concluded as traditionally with the singing of the Salve Regina.
May Br Charles already live the glory of the Resurrection, with Mary, St Marcellin, our Marist saints and martyrs, and the saints of his family!
Message of Br. Emili Turú
Photos - Remembering Br. Charles
Photos - Requiem mass
1989: We are the Champagnats for today
Video - Requiem mass
Biography (PDF - 8 MB)
Eulogies (Doc Word)
Clare Howard - Br Charles’ niece
Br. Seán Sammon, Former Superior General