Yesterday, we learned of the tragic death of Matthew Hammerstone, 21, a senior criminal justice major who was greatly respected by his classmates and faculty. Those who knew and loved him are heartsick. Those who didn’t are saddened at the death of a bright young man whose life has ended before its full potential began to blossom.
We give thanks for the friendship some of us enjoyed with Matt.
We remember his goodness and pray for his family.
We celebrate his gifts here and the promise of heaven hereafter.
We believe that our ever-merciful God will embrace him with love.
Fr. Jim wrote to us yesterday powerful words for us to consider: “We know that we do not suffer grief alone: Both our God and our friends and family stand and walk with us during such turmoil.”
As a Salesian community, we trust our ability to reach out for and to let ourselves be touched by the care of one another. In this way, through the presence of a friend, colleague, or classmate, God is with us: By the power of the Spirit, God’s grace can ease our suffering when others listen to our questions, grief, or rage; sit with us in silence; or pray with and for us to fortify our hope.
St. Francis de Sales once wrote: “Truly it is a blessed thing to love on earth as we hope to love in Heaven, and to begin that friendship here which is to endure for ever there.”
Whether we knew Matt as a good friend and classmate or a student in our course or are now just beginning to hear about his bright character and easy smile, we together can honor his memory by loving a bit more fully here as we hope to love with him and our God in heaven hereafter.
Eternal rest, grant unto Matthew, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he rest in peace.
May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
Rev. Kevin Nadolski, OSFS, vice president for mission.