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Monsignor Harry J. Byrne, JCD * * * Comment/contact:larchstar@aol.com

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Location: 3103 Arlington Avenue,, Bronx, NY 10463, United States

October 7, 2007

"HE'S NOT HEAVY; HE'S MY BROTHER!"

That title comes from a famous logo of Father Flanagan's Boys Town depicting a man carrying a younger individual on his shoulders. In a healthy sibling relationship, each individual shares the pleasures and successes of the others, who experience goodfortune, and the pain of the others who suffer reverses. On October 3rd, my brother, Bill, 84, suffered a slight stroke. On a visit to the hospital the following day, I observed no indication of paralysis, but he was unable to fashion and articulate words. On the following day, the local parish priest, who had anointed him earlier with the Sacraments of the Sick, administered Holy Communion , concluding with the "Our Father". Bill prayed it with him, without losing a word! On October 6th, Irene, his wife, and five children, who came from far and wide, found him perfectly able to speak. Although in the ICU, he was handed a cell phone and spoke to me of his return to speech. There is a road ahead but presently there is reason for the "Te Deum laudamus", the medieval hymn of thanksgiving.

Another brother, Jeb, 82, has been afflicted for some time with Parkinson's disease. Fortunately, treatment has been able to slow up its progress. His wife, Beverly, and four sons, provide great support.

My youngest sibling, Mary, 73, died in the 2003 Christmas season. A widow, she left five children, all quite successful in their own fields and relationships.

The "Te Deum laudamus" is throughly appropriate for the many years we have been blessed to have experienced in this varied and exciting world and for the new lives that have emerged and brightened the declining years of those of us who have had a head start.

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