All I Ask Of You

   “All I ask of you

    is forever to remember me

   as loving you.”

*****                    *****                     *****                *****              *****

   There is a saying “Always Double Back.” The considerable contributions of Michael A. O’Pake, the late senator of Pennsylvania, reveal a man for whom doubling was not enough. His life and  work quadrupled back, at the very least. How do you make the measure? Is it just a coincidence his birthday is 2/2?

   A mass of Christian burial takes place at St. Margaret’s Roman Catholic Church on Centre Avenue in Reading January 3. The service begins at noon.

   Family members Christine Gatzi and Carol Benedetto serve as lectors when the entrance hymn, Be Not Afraid, has been sung.

   Ms. Gatzi, a cousin of Senator O’Pake makes the first reading from Sirach 2:1-11.

   The responsorial Psalm “All I Ask of You” follows.

   Ms. Benedetto reads from Revelations 21, verses one through five and six and seven.

   The hymn, All I Ask of You, was one of Senator O’Pake’s choices for his service, says the Reverend John M. Gibbons. 

  “Where do we go from here?” asks the Reverend delivering the homily. “I have maps.”

   Gibbons takes us to the Glenside housing projects, where the late senator’s roots began. Then, over to Central Catholic, where high school years were spent. From there, to Philadelphia and St. Joseph’s University, where O’Pake graduated as a Hawk, the school mascot.

   “A hawk never dies,” he says. “A hawk never dies.”

   The church is full to capacity. We hear the word, “Excelsior” used many times. Excelsior lifts up. Excelsior is always there.

   O’Pake represented the home-made values of faith, hope, love and service. Michael O’Pake asked and answered the question: “How do you collaborate and not sell your soul?”

   The late senator’s staff presents gifts. Communion is given.

   After the rite of communion, the Most Reverend Francis B. Schulte, one of O’Pake’s teachers and, later, friends, speaks. He says:

  “Michael O’Pake was an American success story. He was a great student. He had a refreshing fidelity to his faith, his ideals and the cause of Life.”

   All I Ask Of You ends with the stanza; “Persons come into the fiber of our lives and then the shadow fades and disappears…All I Ask Of You Is Forever To Remember Me As Loving You.”

♦♦♦♦♦                                                         ♦♦♦♦                                                             ♦♦♦♦♦

 * The hymn, according to the hymnal, is by Gregory Norbet and was copyright 1973 by the Benedictine Foundation of the State of Vermont.


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