Friday, June 3, 2016

(172) John Payne: His Great Suffering From Cancer Was Not in Vain

At a Lenten Fish Fry his coworkers gave this exquisite cake (prepared by Alejandra Garrett) for his last birthday.

John Payne is second from the cooking  for the Lenten Fish Fry at St. Louis Church in Gallipolis, Ohio.

John Payne taught us how to live and how to die.  He knew he was terminal, but continued to do what he was doing as a brother knight since he became a member of our parish family some six years ago……..helping wherever he could, especially in sharing his gift of cooking with all of us, be it at Knights of Columbus dinner meetings, banquets, or our Fish Fries.  John continued being active until only a couple weeks ago when it was impossible to carry on.  Somehow, confined to a wheelchair, he made it to the wedding of a relative a week before he died.

 John, raised in the Chicago area, was a loyal White Sox fan.  He was proud of the picture of himself with his son, Josh at a White Sox game.  He showed it to many of us and put it on Facebook.   

John loved St. Louis Church and we all loved him.  In March we gave him an exquisite birthday cake, at one of our Fish Fries.  John was touched.  Well before he received the news that he was struck by cancer, John Payne commented that he has never been a member of a parish with such wonderful, accepting, and open people.  He found a home here.  His wife, Deb liked it here too and was faithful to John to the very end.  She suffered with him and helped him on the journey.  The intention of the Fifth Sunday Knights of Columbus Mass at 10 am this Sunday May 29 will be for John.

John Payne with his wife Deb, so faithful to the end.

He was a member of the Parish Council, a leader in our church.  He was our recorder at meetings and usually cooked a dinner for each one.  We awarded him the Knight of the Year and Volunteer of the Year which he will receive posthumously.  John has left a vacuum in our council and parish.  We are counting upon our brother knights to step up and fill that void.  

All of John’s suffering was not in vain.  It brought him closer to God.  It helped him to die like a saint.  As encouraged by Catholic belief, he united his tremendous cross with the Lord’s cross and offered it all up as a dynamic prayer for the church, for the missions, for a better world, and for his loved ones.  Offering up one’s suffering is a most effective prayer.

Cancer could not crush John Payne or his spirit.  He drew strength from his faith which increased in his twilight years.  One priest commented: “Those who die of cancer die like saints.”  We believe that holds for John as well.  He made heroic efforts to attend our Men’s Conferences.  John confronted his cross and his passion with grace, with faith, and with courage; he did not complain.  May we do likewise when our time to suffer and die comes sooner or later.  

Thank you, John, for all that you did for us.  Good-by until we’re all together again for that big party in Heaven.  We’re counting on you to cook for us.  Let’s make sure that each one of us gets there by being faithful to God and His Church.