Monday, December 07, 2009

Well, if I can't have any fun I might as well leave.

I started this post several times in commemoration of World AIDS Day last week. At times it's gotten pretty long so I'm going to just pare it down to it's essence.

Somebody that my wife and I knew personally, loved and lost to AIDS was Father Peter Davis. Peter was a wonderful man, bigger than life and the pastor at the Catholic church my wife and I met at.

Part of what's made it so hard to finish this post is that it's difficult to find the words to describe just how great a man Peter was. He was down to earth, charismatic and had a great sense of humor. Most importantly; Peter advocated a Christianity based on caring for the weak in our society and centered around forgiveness. He was as much a true Christian as I've ever met.

So I was thinking about Peter on World AIDS Day and decided to do the Google thingy and see if I could find a biography or maybe his obituary to share. To my chagrin the only thing I could find was a mention on the Women for Faith and Family website on what amounts to their Priestly Hall of Shame. No doubt because of the cause of his death, but also it seems because he ministered in a flamboyant manner.

This excerpt from Peter's obituary (not available online, alas) is supposed to be taken as ironic. I read it and it made me glad I knew the man. Go figure.

From auctioning a suckling pig dinner while dressed as Miss Piggy to lighting Easter fire from a trail of gunpowder, Father Peter Davis lived and ministered with passion, humor and drama. On Dec. 28, he died at a Portland, Ore., hospice of AIDS. He was 43. He loved being a Jesuit and a priest. "I absolutely love it," he told a radio talk show host. "I do it easily. I do it naturally." [obituary by Brad Reynolds, S.J., in the National Jesuit News, April 1990]

So for no other reason that it breaks my heart that the only mention of Father Peter Davis anywhere on the world wide interwebs is by an organization run by a bunch of intemperate evil shrews, I simply want to give testament here on my little corner of the digital world that Father Peter Davis was a great man. He was the kind of man who...

...would willingly volunteer to take part in all sorts of goofy, outrageous youth group activities that may have been beneath the dignity of his position but endeared him to teens in the parish...

...would light up every time he saw a baby...

...put the ministry of the poor first and foremost as the parish goal...

...would go out of his way to tell you the worst joke you'd ever heard...

...made Christianity real and not a series of hollow rituals and motions...

...when he was diagnosed with AIDS went against the wishes of the Portland Archdiocese and, trusting his parishioners, publicly announced what he was sick with and how he had contracted it...

...meant so much to Mrs. Wormer and me that even though we were no longer Catholics, nor believers for that matter, we named our son after him.

I am lucky to have known him.


Lockwood said...

Sad. Why is it that Christians who truly live up to the tenants of that religion get ignored, while santanic Christians, who use their religion to justify hatred and cruelty, get all the attention?

Sorry for your loss; it clearly stings, even all these years later.

I somehow missed your Friday post, but I'm glad to see you back.

Arkonbey said...

You know, I think it's up to you and the others that loved Father Peter to make his presence felt. Not just on the internet, but all over.

Don Snabulus said...

Thanks for setting the record straight, Dean.

Dean Wormer said...


Thanks! It's good to be back around.


I hope that's true. I dropped a couple of bucks in a Santa bucket today just 'cause he was on my mind.



Ubermilf said...

I couldn't make sense of what that "Faith and Family" website was saying anyways. I need my information organized for me.

Randal Graves said...

See, not all Jesusheads are bad.

busana muslim said...

I like that that you say {as|like} my friend thanks

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