Editor’s Note: This is a letter dated May 7 from Linda Gibbons to Campaign Life Coalition national president Jim Hughes after Fr. Ted Colleton died and while Gibbons was still in jail. It is reprinted with permission.
Greetings in the God of All. Comfort. I pray this finds each of you well and blessed in your labours for life.
I’m sorry Father Ted is not joining you at the March for Life dinner this year. I’m sorry too that I can’t be with you to celebrate life. Even though I couldn’t be with you, I wanted to share a banqueting testimony I received in the mail last week. It spoke to my grief upon hearing of Fr. Ted’s passing.
In this testimony a woman who was diagnosed with a terminal illness met with her pastor to discuss funeral arrangements. She asked the pastor to place a fork in her right hand during the funeral. You see, when she attended banquets she saw special significance in being told “keep your fork.” She knew it spoke of something better to come – the sumptuous desert after the main course was cleared. At the funeral many inquired, “What’s with the fork?” During his homily the pastor explained the fork symbolized the better things to come for her and her desire that loved ones would also put their hope in eternal things.
As I sat in my prison cell feeling the weight of missed visits with Fr. Ted for the past two years, I found consolation in this woman’s story. I imagined you all at the dinner in Ottawa just having finished dessert. Just then the overhead screen reveals a portal to heaven and Fr. Ted is seen feasting on some heavenly Irish delights. Glancing up he sees you all there and gives a cheery little pro-life salute with his fork. Then in that familiar, beloved voice he says: “Keep your forks the best is yet to come!” Then with a glint in those smiling Irish eyes he asks, “by the way… did you hear the one about…”
Our Father Ted – fiercely loved, sorely missed – we will remember you still. ‘til we meet again, rest in peace.
Peace of Christ dear ones.
Love and Prayers in the Holy Comforter,
Linda Gibbons, a frequent prisoner of conscience for violating Ontario’s injunction against peaceful pro-life witnessing outside abortion facilities, was released from The Vanier Center for Women June 3, 2011.