Last night the second-most senior friar of our province, Fr. Charles Repole, departed this life at age 96. He was one of two brothers from the same mother who entered the Order. His brother, known in religion as Fr. Celsus, died when I was a novice. Charlie seemed to miss him terribly. Or better, he seemed to find it somehow awkward and wrong to be in this world without his brother.
I think Fr. Charles once told me that they were from St. Francis Xavier parish in Manhattan. Daniel, as he was born, entered the Order in 1936. As a young priest, in the days before Skype, email, and probably the telephone in most places he was, he went off the missions of Nicaragua. He was immensely proud of his work in editing a trilingual translation dictionary in Spanish, English, and Miskito.
I first got to know Fr. Charles in my first assignment, when he was living at our residence for senior friars adjacent to the parish where I was working. He used to call me mi tocayo, which means, "my namesake." In order to avoid confusion around the friaries, I quickly became 'Charles junior' which another of the senior friars soon shortened to 'CJ.'
He had his own anxieties and interior demons, but they never kept him from his natural gregariousness and earnest interest in people. For that I was always grateful for his good example.
Descansa en paz, tocayo.
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