If you've heard one of our talks which includes my own testimony, you'll know that a turning point came with my first encounter, at 19 turning 20, with an example of a sacramental marriage worth emulating. Today on the Feast of St Thomas the Apostle, I'm posting the first part of a three-part series on the husband and wife behind that story.
I have intended this series since June 4, 2012, when we assisted at the Mass of Christian Burial for Professor Thomas Langan, Knight of Saint Sylvester and husband of Professor Janine Langan, Lady of Saint Sylvester. Here are his death notice in The Globe and Mail, his obituary in The Catholic Register, Deborah Gyapong's post on the funeral, and a tribute from the Catholic Civil Rights League.
I was so blessed to be present -- not least because I was with The Sheepcat, a great gift of God whom I was able to recognize partly because of the Langans' influence. Towards the end of Papa Tom's long illness, we'd prayed Vespers with him at Bridgepoint, and I told him what he meant to me as he tugged up and down on my thumb. Lady Janine said that even though he wasn't too verbal in such encounters, he did use words later with his family, to tell what he'd experienced. His wife and family were so precious to him, and especially at the graveside service led by Fr Robert Barringer, I was deeply conscious of the many sacrifices the Langan family had made so that students like me could be formed on every level.
Deep down I knew that if we went on our Vancouver speaking tour, we would miss Papa Tom's passing. And that we were supposed to go anyway.