Family, friends, and the faculty and staff of Christendom College gathered to attend the solemn funeral Mass of Dr. Brendan McGuire, beloved professor, husband, and father, on October 13. McGuire, who served at Christendom for over a decade, died during his fifth battle with cancer on October 9, leaving behind his wife, Susan, his three children, Joseph, Jack, and Aileen, and a legacy of heroism, sacrifice, and unending love.
Those gathered in the chapel were joined by hundreds of alumni, current students, and friends from all over the world who participated in the Funeral Mass virtually. All were deeply moved by the homily of Dom Alban, CRNJ, a close friend of McGuire and his family. He celebrated the Funeral Mass and delivered a powerful remembrance of McGuire, while also offering hope for all those grieving.
“The Lord was here and is here now. The Lord was here in drawing so many minds and hearts together in prayer for a miracle for Brendan,” said Dom Alban. “He was here, in extending Brendan’s life longer than seemed humanly possible, given the extent of the pain and the vehemence of the cancer. He was here in showing us over and over again the many stunning things that he had accomplished in Brendan, through his divine grace, such that Brendan got the wish that he wanted. He will always be known to all of us as a man who loved his wife and his kids and who fought to the end. In Heaven, we will know how hard Brendan fought and we will all marvel at that. Just like the marks of the martyrs, he will also bear those marks. We will also know how much he loved his wife and his children, and again we will marvel at his love.”
Dom Alban’s words on McGuire touched the congregation deeply. McGuire passed away so young at the age of 37, but his life was filled to the brim with Christlike love for all he encountered. Dom Alban encouraged the congregation to pray and hope that they will join McGuire in Heaven one day, enjoying life more abundantly with him again.
“As Brendan wrote, ‘Jesus Christ our God loved us so much as to accept death on the cross, and then immediately to show us the way to life. Death has no sting and hell has no victory.’ Let us look forward to the vision of God in heaven, to friendships and loves that are renewed and perfected, to the fullness of life in Christ, to the new things which Brendan has begun to enjoy even now, and which we hope to share with him one day,” concluded Dom Alban.
As the Funeral Mass concluded and McGuire’s casket was brought outside, he was greeted by the students of Christendom, kneeling outside the Chapel. The devotion of McGuire to his students was only matched by their devotion to him, and their love was expressed in his presence one last time on campus in this powerful way.
Susan, Joseph, Jack, and Aileen McGuire, along with family and the faculty and staff of Christendom, privately buried McGuire at Good Hope Cemetery, near Christendom’s campus, following the Funeral Mass. McGuire now rests near Christendom’s late chaplain, Fr. Seamus O’Kielty, and all are encouraged to visit both of them at their gravesides and pray for them.
Before passing, McGuire thanked the Christendom community for their prayers during his sufferings. His words then are even more powerful now, as they illustrate the deep faith and love of a father, a husband, a son and a teacher who gave his all for Christ, to the end.
“I ask your prayers once again for me, and for my wife and children, that we can forge ahead with courage and with joy, living without fear and with complete abandonment to the holy will of God,” said McGuire. “I am so indebted to you all, I don’t even know where to begin properly offering thanks. Please accept this poor acknowledgement of the debt, and my offering of my own struggles and sufferings for all of your intentions.”
Rest in peace, Dr. Brendan McGuire.