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 | By Father Christopher Bennett

A Life-Giving Presence

Fr. Chris Bennett Reflects on Bishop McGrath’s Care for the Sick and Sensitivity for the Marginalized

I first met Bishop Patrick McGrath when he was an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, but we became friends after he became Bishop of San José.

Generosity of heart was one of Bishop PJ’s greatest gifts. I often took him to visit people in the hospitals, to talk with them, and to give them the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. Many of them were going through incredibly challenging times, and his presence brought them the great comfort of prayer as well as a smile and a laugh that lifted their hearts. He was always very connected with those who were marginalized.

The fruits of his sensitivity to others became manifested in many ways. He established a Mass for the deaf and hard of hearing through the Italian Catholic Federation (ICF) at Santa Teresa Parish. He was instrumental in bringing deaf children to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion. Additionally, he was consistently present to the handicapables’ physical, psychological, and spiritual challenges, often supporting and encouraging catechists to utilize best practices for special needs children.

Finally, Bishop PJ positively impacted many families and lost souls because of his generosity of time and humble service to others, especially to the sick and marginalized. He embodied the sacrament of presence. His presence and prayers continue to beam brightly throughout our community.

God has smiled on him, and he wore that smile well. Bishop PJ used to joke, “You will miss me when I am gone,” and so we do. One word I would use to describe PJ is ‘life-giving’ and I was personally transformed by how he modeled great love. We miss his caring and life-giving presence more than he could imagine. May his holy soul be on the right side of God. Amen.