Funeral for Philomena Patrone Hoffstetter, 91
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Funeral for Philomena Patrone Hoffstetter, 91 Born: June 8, 1916 Died: September 11, 2007 Funeral : September 14, 2007 Scriptures: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Romans 14:7-9 John 6:1-13 Homily: God’s Word tells us there is an appointed time for everything. As we gather this morning, we know that it is time to assure one another of condolences and prayerful support. Before this church was built, Philomena was baptized as a member of this parish. It was a blessed time as her parents and Godparents brought her to the previous church building just ten years after Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish began. It was time for her to begin her journey as a member of God’s family. Father Nicola Santoro, who was pastor here before, during, and for some years after the time this church building was constructed, baptized Philomena. And now, more than ninety-one and a quarter years after God whispered to her soul and told her it was time to begin life in this world, the words of the author of Ecclesiastes ring true as the church bell tolled to welcome her to this church one last time. Phil’s time to die has arrived, and we have gathered to ask the Lord to give us the grace to recognize that she has been born to eternal life. There is a time for everything under the heavens. Phil’s life demonstrated how true this is. She spent time here in Niles until 1940. Then she lived in Chesterfield, Indiana for some time, operating Phil’s Tavern there for about two decades. Garrettsville, Ohio became her home in 1980. She spent some time working at Packard Electric. The final stages of her life were spent here in Niles at Autumn Hills Care Center. She enjoyed spending time watching birds and traveling. Phil knew what it was like to be married and to be widowed. Her first husband Enrico “Little Scotty” DiLoreto died nearly 67 years ago (October of 1940.) In 1960, she married Edwin Hoffstetter. She and her second husband enjoyed visiting Florida. He was called to everlasting life in November of 1995. During the time God gave her, she enjoyed the company of her brother and sisters. She gave birth to her son Thomas. She knew the sadness associated with the death of her grandson Scott and two of her sisters. She knew the joy of being admired by her surviving grandson Todd. We believe that today, God tells us that it is time for us to be grateful for her more than ninety one years of life. She was blessed with independence until her health declined recently. 2 The Second Reading from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans reminds us that we are not masters of our own lives. The broken hip suffered by Phil about five years ago kept her from doing the things she truly loved to do. Those who knew her best of all remember how she strived to be organized and how she kept things tidy as long as she could. You can easily imagine the many times she pulled weeds, swept the porch, and even did some painting. And I’m told that she always made time for everyone. She enjoyed conversations with people. Her faith was important to her, not only at this church and at St. Ambrose Parish in Garrettsville, but also in other places she spent time. As we reflect about this day, we realize that we do so in the context of a meal. Jesus shared supper with His closest friends the night before He died. We share a meal with the Lord every time we celebrate the Eucharist. Today, we have been blessed with time to listen to God’s Word. It is truly a time to be nourished by Jesus. This sharing of a meal reminds us of one of the things Philomena loved to do best. She truly enjoyed making the time to prepare meals for everyone. She wanted to make sure everyone at her place was filled with good food. Her good-hearted nature and her unselfish ways of giving touched your lives and will continue to nourish your hearts and souls in deep and lasting ways every time you remember her. In the Gospel chosen for this celebration, Jesus enabled so many people to be fed by Him. He used the little bit that someone was willing to share (five barley loaves and two fishes) to provide for many people. Philomena grew up during the Great Depression. She was just a teenager when it began. She knew what it was like to make a little bit go a long way. Her death leads us all to take time to realize that our lives have been graced by special people, and to give thanks for their goodness and love. It is time to lovingly ask the Lord in His goodness to welcome her to a place of refreshment, light, and peace. As God has graced your lives with the time she spent with you, may she know the fullness of joy in the presence of the Lord for ages upon ages without end. May Philomena continue to pray for us and with all of us who trust that there is never a time when love ceases.