January 14, 2018

Friends,

I had the privilege of having supper with one of my favorite families in Dorchester the week after the holidays. During our conversation they told me they had been to Mayor Marty Walsh’s inauguration ceremony and how impressed they were with Vice President Joe Biden. I told them how much I loved the guy and how honored I was to meet him ay Mayor Tom Menino’s funeral at Most Precious Blood Church 3 years ago. Joe Biden was so comfortable when he entered the church and went around the sacristy greeting each of the priests and ministers who were present. I remember his words and his praise for the Catholic Church and for all those who serve. 

Back to my dinner in Dorchester, the family who went to the inauguration told me that Joe Biden had given a copy of his new book, “Promise me, Dad,” to all who attended and they had an extra copy. They gave it to me and I’m reading it as I write these notes. I realize what a close relationship he has with President Obama and I admire their friendship and the respect they share. I’m going to share a couple passages with you that typify their genuine love for each other. “The president made an unusually fond statement about me at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner, though he wrapped it in a joke about the current controversy involving businesses that had refused to cater to gay weddings. ‘I tease Joe sometimes,’ Barack said, ‘but he has been at my side for seven years. I love that man. He’s not just a great vice president, he’s a great friend. We’ve gotten so close, there’s places in Indiana that won’t serve us pizza anymore.’”

The other quote is taken from President Obama’s remarks at the funeral of Joe Biden’s son, Beau, who died in 2015. This book is prompted by that death and is the story of how this family survived that experience: “we had been through a lot together, but I felt closer to the president that day in St. Anthony’s church and more appreciative of his friendship than ever before. ‘Michelle and I and Sasha and Malia, we’ve become part of the Biden clan, we’re honorary members now,’ he said. ‘And the Biden family rule applies: We’re always here for you. We always will be. My word as a Biden.’”

The book is subtitled “A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.” I highly recommend it. As you know, some families appear to have a lot more pain than others. Joe Biden lost his wife and baby daughter in an automobile accident when he was in his early 30’s. His two sons survived that crash. This book is a journey and can give hope to many.

As we celebrate the Martin Luther King holiday, I believe that the story of Barack Obama and Joe Biden says it all.

Enjoy life!
Fr. Coyne

 

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