St John's Q&A

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Living next to a saint

I am good friends with a couple in Pennsylvania. They live very close to the seminary I attended (Mount St Mary's), and I would visit them and their five kids frequently. Great Catholic family! When I would visit, I played with the kids and joked around much of the time. But, then, they invited another seminarian (who was a deacon) to their home. He prayed evening prayer with them, blessed their house, and led them in a rosary. When he left, their kids halfheartedly said, "so that's what a seminarian is supposed to be like!" ...(oops)
Last week, I learned that a good friend of mine from the seminary lost his long battle with cancer at a very young age. Fr. Darin Didier was a ordained a priest of Fargo, ND in June of this year after fighting non-Hodgkins lyphoma for many years in the seminary. The disease had been in remission for at least a year, maybe two. Unfortunately, it returned this summer, and Fr Darin died the first week of September.

Darin and I were friends, classmates, and neighbors. I would hear him coughing through many a night in his last year of seminary. He rarely (if ever) complained about the cancer, and lived his simple yet joyful life as normally as ever. Darin was very athletic, intelligent, kind, enthusiastic, and loving. To me and many others, he was a saint. For nine months, I had the great honor of living next to a saint!

When he was first diagnosed with the cancer, he underwent radiation and chemotherapy, and had to leave the seminary. After a while, the doctors told him that the treatments were not working properly. Eventually, he was told by them that there was nothing more that they could do. So, Darin turned to natural supplements, a strict diet (he was already a health nut), and to priests. He had a few priests pray over him in the hopes of a healing. Basically, he put his whole life in the hands of God.

Amazingly, the cancer went into remission. He was well enough to return to the seminary and resume his formation for priesthood. He continued a rigorous natural and supernatural diet to keep the cancer from returning. He was an heroic witness to the virtue of faith to so many people at and around the Mount, not to mention elsewhere. What courage!

The amazing gift for Fr Darin, obviously, is priesthood. He was cured long enough to be ordained. When a man is ordained a priest, it is forever. Fr Darin is a priest forever! I believe he is like John Paul II in the sense that he had a very short stay in Purgatory, and is now in Heaven. He endured the Cross in huge ways; now, he enjoys the fruits of Paradise with Almighty God and all the angels and saints.

I have already asked his intercession on some matters. As powerful as his prayers were on Earth, they are even more so now. Father Darin, pray for us!

Oh, and by the way, the seminarian I mentioned above was Darin Didier.


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