Vigil and Funeral
In Memory of Brother Philip
On December 28, the family and the Brothers met at the funeral home in Ottawa. Brother Philip's body was in an open coffin so that friends and family who lived nearby could pay their respects to him and meet the family. Many people came and prayed and offered their condolences. Some relatives came from the Detroit area in the United States and from Windsor, Canada. Mr. Masao Hiraga, a Japanese citizen living in Calgary, Canada came to spend a few days with us and to pray at the wake of a dear friend. Brother Andr? Labelle, from Hakodate represented the Brothers of Japan and in the evening addressed the people present.
Brother Philip's body was cremated on December 30th. Three urns were prepared: one for the Brothers' cemetery here in Ottawa. It is called Notre-Dame cemetery and it is the place where DeLaSalle Brothers from the Ottawa region are buried. One urn will go to the Brothers cemetery in Sendai and another one to the Brothers cemetery in the Tokyo area.
On January 5, I picked up at the airport Mr. Masanobu Kubota who came all the way from Kagoshima to be at the vigil and at the funeral.
On January 6, in the evening, the three urns were placed in the community chapel of the Brothers residence in Ottawa for an evening of prayer. We prayed personally for a few hours and at 20 h 30 we joined in a group prayer. Kubotan-san addressed the group in the name of graduates of LaSalle. His speech is in an annex to this description of the tsuito-shiki.
Very soon after the Japanese former students and the friends of Brother Philip learned of his death, I began receiving e-mail of condolences and messages of friendship and of souvenirs that former students and friends had of Brother Philip. I was impressed by the abundance of those messages and also by such friendship.
Many beautiful flower arrangements were sent from Japan. They were all around the three urns in the chapel first and then at the church the next morning. People commented on their beauty and how much they contributed to the prayer atmosphere. One bouquet was signed by the Friends of LaSalle Lodge and from people whose names I knew from previous messages (Ms. Mariko Oya, Mr. Yoshinori Komiyama, Ms. Setsuko Ogino, Ms, Kazuko Nakamura, Ms. Chika Suzuki, Ms. Toshiko Ogoshi, Ms Aoyama and Mr. Akira and Ms. Atsuko Miyawaki). Another bouquet was a group of friends in Sendai and had the names of: Nozawa, Sekimoto, Kobayashi, Hara, Iwabuchi and Ohmi. One floral arrangement was for the Hakodate LaSalle Bulletin and signed Hiroshi Saito. One bouquet had a card signed Yayori Suzuki and one came from the LaSalle Alumni Bulletin people under the name of Kantoru Noda. I am sorry if I misspelled some of your names. The florist here was not familiar with Japanese names and most probably misprinted some of them. If this is the case with your name, please accept my apologies.
The Catholic funeral service was very beautiful, very touching and very appropriate for Brother Philip. A choir sang some beautiful hymns and again Kubotan-san addressed the people in the church; his message impressed all. He left us as a souvenir a CD containing his speech and some photos of the vigil, the service and the church. The three urns were in front of the alter and all the people present understood why there were three of them.
On Monday morning, January 9, after a snowstorm (Brother Philip liked the snow! ) My other brother, Roger and I and a few intimate friends, we went to bury the urn in Notre-Dame Cemetery.
I will in March bring the two other urns to Japan and attend the tsuito-shiki and the Shinobu-kai.
Again, many thanks for your messages of condolences and friendship, for the flowers and the prayers. I could feel that you were near the family all the time in this time of sorrow.
Brother Maurice Lapointe, FSC
|Since 2006 Jan 16th|