Jeff was a Methodist minister who was received into the Catholic Church ten years ago. After being diagnosed with cancer three years ago, he wrote a book to help those preparing for death: A Little Guide for Your Last Days. In March, he told his story on EWTN's "The Journey Home." You can see the show in its entirety here. A news story where Jeff discussed his faith journey is online here. He had a personal blog, Chronicles of Atlantis, and contributed to a group blog, The Four Mass'keteers.
I had the great blessing of visiting Jeff for an hour and a half yesterday afternoon at hospice, along with mutual friend Michael McCleary. He was unable to move or speak, but his breathing and an attempt he made at vocalization showed he was alert. Michael and I prayed the rosary and the Divine Mercy chaplet, and I read Jeff chapters 14 and 15 of John's Gospel.
Before leaving, I pulled out my Catholic datebook and told Jeff that this week was the octave of Corpus Christi. I also told him which saints' feasts were on each day this week. The saint for Tuesday, I said, was Irenaeus, adding that it was he who said, "The glory of God is man fully alive." Besides knowing it from Irenaeus's writings, Jeff would have recognized the phrase as the inspiration for Chesterton's novella Manalive.
There is perhaps no other quote from a saint that better describes Jeff. How fitting that he should be born into life with God on Irenaeus's day.
More, including a beautiful photo, from the principal of the Catholic school where Jeff taught sixth-grade for ten years.
The Arlington Catholic Herald has an obituary and funeral details.