Tuesday, August 02, 2016

In Memoriam – Bp. Peter Brennan

Twenty years ago yesterday, I entered the Atonement Friars, a Roman Catholic religious order. It was not a good fit -- and that is an understatement -- but I eventually found the ecclesiastical place where I belong, in the Independent Sacramental Movement (ISM). Interestingly enough, although the Graymoor Friars (as they are sometimes known, for their motherhouse in Putnam County, NY) have never been large -- perhaps 300 at their largest in the late 50's/early 60's, less than 100 now -- at least 7 former Atonement Friars, to my knowledge, are now ISM clergy.
One person who was an important figure in the ISM these last several decades, a gracious and peace-loving bishop who attempted to enter into good relations with all in our movement, was +Peter Brennan. Interestingly enough, he was also an Atonement Friar, although he left a quarter century before me. I met him at an ISM dinner that +Lynn Walker and I organized, and sat next to him -- once we found the Graymoor connection, we were fast friends. The day after my first weddings in New Paltz as part of the New Paltz Equality Initiative, an effort to give legal marriage to same-sex couples, I was at a consecration of three bishops at which Peter was the primary consecrator, and we, +John Plummer, and another bishop exchanged consecrations sub-conditionally. (That's how I got the Thuc line.) It felt like a blessing on that aspect of my ministry, one of its first non-eremitical expressions.
+Peter Brennan died yesterday. I am profoundly grateful to have known him, and to have had him lay hands on me in (re-)consecration. The fact that he died on the 20th anniversary of my becoming postulant at Graymoor will always remind me of how Graymoor was a waystation for so many of us on our way to this wonderful part of Christ's Church, the Independent Sacramental Movement, and of the profound impact for good that +Peter had on all who knew him, an example of that peace and grace we are called to express.

Requiescat in pacem.

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