Katacha Díaz – Remembering Father Pat

Katacha Díaz is a Peruvian American writer. She earned her BA and MPA from the University of Washington, and was a research associate of the University of California, Davis. Wanderlust and love of travel have taken her all over the world to gather material for her stories. Her work appears with ZiN Daily, Amsterdam Quarterly, Big Windows Review, Anak Sastra, Shimmer Spring, Taj Mahal Review, Flash Frontier, Galway Review, Hibiscus, Barely South Review, Westview, Gravel, New Mexico Review, Foliate Oak, The MacGuffin, Medical Literary Messenger, among others. Katacha lives in the Pacific Northwest, near the mouth of the Columbia River.

Remembering Father Pat

By Katacha Díaz

These past few years I have become much too well acquainted with death, and grieving the loss of friends and mentors. But losing my longtime friend, confidant, and father of my spiritual life left me feeling shaken to the core. 

On June 21, 2022, as the longest day gave way to the shortest night of the year, Rev. Philip W. Brady was in Hospice and passed away peacefully. Not wanting to play favorites with his nieces, Father Pat was alone at 12:40 that afternoon.  He was 103 years old, he was lucid, and this was God’s plan.

Father Pat is no longer suffering, but is resting in peace and happily in heaven. A blessing.

Sister Jean from Father Baker Manor Nursing Home arranged a small service before the funeral home staff took the body, and she led six family members in a procession to the hearse. Father Pat was cremated, and a Mass of Christian Burial was held in September, when he would have celebrated 104 years of life.

While Father Pat was under Hospice care, he gave himself last rites. “Only he would do that,” wrote his niece Bernadette. I replied that this was not surprising. Many years ago, when I moved to Astoria, our local priest was to have blessed the home altar in my cozy abode but never got around to it. When I mentioned this in conversation to Father Pat, he told me “No worries!” and immediately began praying and offered a blessing over the telephone! 

I miss our bi-monthly chats, filled with laughter and advice for navigating life, mailing packages with chocolates, treats for him and t-shirts for his canine companion ‘My Honey’ (from ‘Mister Keeper’, my Yorkshire Terrier, of course)! As time went by, Father Pat enjoyed receiving his favorite chocolates, limoncello chocolate covered almonds, and in recent months what became his favorite — limoncello pound cake and pumpkin bread. And Father Pat was so sweet to send surprise gifts of See’s healthy dark chocolates from his favorite California chocolatier.

Recently I listened to Father Pat’s StoryCorps interview with his Minnesota and New York nephews on NPR. It was wonderful! I enjoyed learning more about Father Pat and his brother’s family. This interview is a gift that will keep on giving to the family now, and to future generations in years to come. Although Father Pat’s voice was pretty clear, he complained that he sounded “like a very old man!” His nephews and nieces reminded him of his age and they thought he sounded really good! Father Pat’s interview is filled with cherished family memories of long ago, lots of tiny details, and a great sense of wit.   

“His full life is finally over,” wrote Bernadette, his favorite niece, “I’m sure he’s already so happy to be in heaven!”         

Quietly reminiscing about dear Father Pat’s long life well lived, I recall our 60+ year friendship began in 1960, at St. Mary’s church in Greenwich, Connecticut, when I was a high school sophomore and working in the Rectory of the church. When Father Pat celebrated his birthday, at 103, he shared his favorite homemade fudge recipe in a letter. Years earlier he sent me a surprise box of his delicious homemade fudge, which was known as “Father Brady’s Holy Fudge” in parts of Vermont and New Hampshire, and sold at country stores and roadside stands.               

Rev. Philip W. Brady attributed his longevity to Irish family genes and eating dark chocolate!  May Father Pat be resting in peace.





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