Very Rev. David M. O'Connell, C.M. , university president, delivered the homily at the funeral for former White House press secretary Tony Snow on July 17. Catholic News Service quoted Father O'Connell's remarks at the ceremony held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. See his remarks in the article below.
From: Catholic News Service Date: July 17, 2008 Author: Geoffrey A. Brooke Jr.WASHINGTON (CNS) -- President George W. Bush was among the hundreds of mourners who gathered July 17 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington for the funeral Mass of Tony Snow, former White House press secretary.Snow, 53, died July 12 after a long bout with colon cancer."Tony Snow, the professional, is a hard act to follow, Tony Snow, the man, is simply irreplaceable," said Bush in a tribute immediately following the opening procession.He also noted that once Snow's cancer returned for the second time, "he did not turn to despair. He saw it as another challenge to tackle. He found comfort in the prayers he received from millions of Americans."Vincentian Father David O'Connell, president of The Catholic University of America, was the main celebrant and homilist. Msgr. Walter R. Rossi, rector of the national shrine, was a concelebrant. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington was presiding bishop.The basilica, the largest Catholic church in North America, was filled nearly to capacity for the funeral Mass.In addition to Bush and his wife, first lady Laura Bush, other public figures in attendance were Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, several Cabinet members, senators and congressmen, as well as other members of the Bush administration. Members of the press who had worked with Snow throughout his career as a journalist were also there.In his homily Father O'Connell said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, clean of heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted, the just ... these are the measure of a Christian man. For Tony Snow, these were the ways he embraced to 'live boldly' and to 'live a whole life.'"In 2007, Snow gave the commencement address at The Catholic University of America. In his address he encouraged the graduates to "live boldly" and to "live a whole life."Father O'Connell noted that Snow's character showed in "his passion for what was good and right and true, in his love for God and family and neighbor and country."Snow served as a speechwriter for the former President George H.W. Bush after a long career in print journalism. After the former president's term in office, he spent time as a broadcast journalist until 2006, when he became White House press secretary for the current president. Partly because of his ongoing battle with cancer, Snow resigned from the post in September 2007.The current President Bush noted his remarks at the funeral that during Snow's time as press secretary, he was "an optimist who knew America's possibilities."At the conclusion of the Mass, speeches were given by close friends of the late journalist; his brother, Steven; and Robbie Snow, one of the three children Snow had with his wife, Jill. The couple's two daughters are named Kendall and Kristi.In between the speeches, Kendall joined the Colonial Singers, who had performed throughout the Mass, to sing one song: "Promised Land."The Rev. Matthew Covington, pastor at a Presbyterian church in Bowling Green, Ky., and a college friend of Snow's, said during his speech that several mutual college friends had been e-mailing each other saying that "there were no words" for the death of their friend.Rev. Covington noted such a loss of words was ironic in relation to a man who was a "great master of words." One word he said described Snow was integrity, saying the man was "true to himself."Snow's younger brother, Steven, drew upon many childhood memories of time spent with his brother. "Most of all he was someone who loved life," he said.Jay McConville, a Snow family friend, spoke about his relationship with Snow, saying that the two never discussed politics and news but rather "(Snow) asked me about my family and then he told me about his."Before Archbishop Wuerl said the prayer of commendation over Snow's cremated remains, which rested in an urn, Robbie Snow read the last paragraph from an article his father had published in Christianity Today July 2007:"We don't know much, but we know this: No matter where we are, no matter what we do, no matter how bleak or frightening our prospects, each and every one of us, each and every day, lies in the same safe and impregnable place -- in the hollow of God's hand."Earlier, as he ended his homily, Father O'Connell said: "When he spoke to the graduates of Catholic University last spring, Tony shared an especially poignant and profound thought about his latest battle with cancer. He reflected that 'while God doesn't promise tomorrow, he does promise eternity.' For Tony Snow, that promise has now been fulfilled."
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