A very sad New Years this has turned out to be. A good friend passed tonight, in a one in a million accident that claimed his life. I met Father Mike Kelly at Saint Ambrose in Annandale, VA, and we became fast friends. Sure, I know we all say that after someone has passed away– but in my case, it’s more than a sanctimonious statement. Father Mike Kelly was a true kindred spirit, a self-professed history ‘geek’, a reenactor, and yes, a wargamer. I had Father Mike over to the house many times to play miniature skirmish games in my basement. He was an ardent player and passionate about history– we jokingly dubbed him the ‘minister of war’.
It’s easy to like a guy like Father Mike. He had (still has) a big heart, was friendly to all and unrelenting about matters of the spirit. In the midst of my own spiritual crisis, I sought his advice once, about grief and pain, and he revealed to me how he got his calling.. not with trumpets and sudden revelation, but with the subtle whisper of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never gave up on Mike Kelly, and he taught me it had never abandoned me in the darkest times.
I had lost touch with Father Mike when he moved out to Front Royal, and from there to St. Francis de Sales in Purcellville. I wish we had stayed in contact, but he was always a very busy man.
Go with God, Mike Kelly. May you sit at the right hand of the Lord forever, you made a difference with your life. You certainly did for me.