And sometimes surprises come at the most unexpected times. Last week I was privileged to be at the ordination of Clare Stewart. The Diocese of Western Newfoundland Is receiving an incredible priest who is a product of our wonderful diocese of Huron.
My previous post, was about the incredible homily given at the ordination. Part of what made that so special, was seeing Ed King again, after so many years. But his reacquaintance, was not the only one I had.
At the end of the ordination, and during the reception, the a priest walked up to me and shook my hand. ‘Kevin,’ He said, “I’m guessing you don’t remember me.” I looked at him for a minute… He looked familiar. All at once I realized it was the Reverend David Hewitt. Dave Hewitt was my childhood priest. What an incredible surprise. I could not believe it really. I have not seen him in about 30 years.
Memories came flooding back. How could I forget confirmation classes. There were four churches in our parish in those days. Saint Matthews, Greens Harbour, Saint George the Martyr in my hometown Whiteway, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Cavendish, and Saint Matthews in Hearts Delight.The Rectory was in Heart’s Delight, at the furthest north end of the Parish. Confirmation classes were held at Saint Matthews Church in Greens Harbour, the far south end of the parish. Reverend Hewitt would leave in his car from Heart’s Delight, pick up kids in Hearts Delight, and Islington, in Cavendish, me and Rhonda Welsh in Whiteway and then we all met at the church in Green’s Harbour. He didn’t just teach us our confirmation classes, he was our bus driver along the way as well. And how could I forget the many meals shared around our dinner table. My parents thought very highly of Dave and Shirley. My mother especially, dearly loved having them at our home. She took such pride in hosting our clergy. She dearly loved Shirley, as she has such an infectious sense of humor. I can still see my mother shaking with laughter over some of Shirley‘s antics. Who could forget the many ‘Times’ that we would have. A ‘Time’ in Newfoundland is a party, often with music and skits. Memories of the old one room school house, that served as our parish hall, and seeing adults dressed up in funny clothes playing oddball characters flooded my mind.
I began to think of the school project I did for grade 9 religion. I chose the topic of unification of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches. All this before I ever met my Roman Catholic wife. I spent a great deal of time collecting information about the Roman Catholic Church, which I confess, I knew very little about as I grew up in an area where Roman Catholics were nowhere nearby. What I had “learned“ about Roman Catholics was far from correct. I tried hard to find a Catholic Priest. It was not easy. But mom managed to connect me with a priest she knew from visiting the ‘Old Folks Home’ where she worked. I got my questions to him and I interviewed Dave Hewitt and sought both of their insights. I learned more about my own denomination in that one project than I had ever learned before, to say nothing of the many things I learned about Roman Catholics. My grade 9 religion teacher Jack Reid gave me 100% on my project. That paper is in my book shelf in my office.
So many memories with the Hewitts. But most of all what I remembered, is how I was cared for as a child of God, by what was so clearly a man of God. Dave Hewitt was a faithful and caring priest in the four communities that formed our parish of Heart’s Delight. It’s not a stretch to say that I would not be a priest today if not for David Hewitt. In all of my excitement of seeing them again after such a long period of time, what I failed to do was say thank you.
So let me take the time in this space to address the Reverend David Hewitt…..
David, as a child, a few special people took the time to help nurture me a instil in me a strong faith in a God who loves. I was, in some ways a very broken and hurting child. You sir are one of those people who reminded me of my belovedness. Thank you. Thank you for being you, thank you for caring for me, caring for my parents, and for all of my siblings and their families. Thank you for being a faithful servant. You have made an incredible difference in my life.