The following comment was posted today in response to the NPR Morning Edition story about two women celebrating 40 years of living happily ever after:
I noticed in the obituaries that Dana Rose, a 52 year-old priest in the Diocese of Newark died in August. He was active in The Oasis, the AIDS Resource Center, and an AIDS bereavement program in NYC that he founded called CenterBridge. Can anyone here tell me/us whether his death was due to AIDS? -- Tony Seel
Words failedme in trying to understand why lies behind this question about the passing of brother priest on this post about two women celebrating decades of living happily ever after. My initial instinct was to "moderate" it (AKA delete it) but decided to do some research instead.
A colleague pointed me to this post on the Stand Firm site which read: "
The Living Church reports in its obituaries (10/22/06, p. 28) that a 52-year-old priest died recently in the Diocese of Newark. There is no mention of his illness, but it does say that he was the education coordinator for The Oasis, a ministry of the diocese to gays. It also says that he was project director for the congregational training programs at the AIDS Resource Center and that he founded CenterBridge, an AIDS bereavement program in NYC. I know that we can’t assume that he died of AIDS, but I am guessing that it was his life-giving lifestyle that did him in. How sad."
And I was able to point the poster (The Reverend Tony Seel of St. Andrew's in Vestal NY) via email to the moving tribute to Dana Rose's life and ministry posted in August by the ever-eloquent Elizabeth Kaeton and his response was:
Thank you; I went to the tribute, but my question wasn't answered there. Did he die from AIDS?
Words still fail me in trying to understand such narrow obsession about why someone died rather than how they lived (and for the record, I don't have any information about Dana's HIV/AIDS status).
But re-reading about all that Dana was and did and offered to this hurting world was in itself an answer of love and service outliving the slings and arrows of those who are determined to tear down rather than build up. And if it truly comes to a "Choose This Day" moment it is getting easier and easier with every day to choose the Gospel of love lived and served by priests like Dana and let those who choose otherwise to walk apart with their snide certitude. Which isn't to say it doesn't make the heart sad so to do. Very sad.