Eucharistic Encounter 19: Fr. Sal Ferigle

Why on earth would a priest hear your confession while he’s having a heart attack?

Hi everyone. This is Father Rocky in the Cathedral of Saint Francis Xavier in Green Bay, WI. 

Why on earth would a priest hear your confession while he’s having a heart attack? The only reasonable explanation I can give is because that priest loves Jesus very much. He received the Holy Eucharist every day because he celebrated Mass every day, and the Holy Eucharist actually transformed him into being another Christ.  

So I’d like to tell this story. It happened years ago on Christmas night at the Center of Opus Dei in Boston near Harvard University. And Father Sal Ferigle was with others, watching a movie on Christmas night when he went upstairs to his room. He didn’t tell people he was feeling poorly, but he was feeling poorly.  

Father John Agnew, another young priest there, realized that the next day Father Sal would be gone for three weeks, and this would be his last chance to have his confession heard for three weeks.  

So he went up to Father Sal’s room, knocked down the door and said, “Father Sal, would you hear my confession?” He said, “Yeah, come on in.”  

Father John made his confession, and right at the end Father Sal said to him, “You know, I don’t feel well, could you call for a doctor?”  

When the doctor came, they realized he was having a massive heart attack. He died 2 weeks later on January 9th, the birthday of Saint Josemaría.  

I’ve always been impressed with that story. That’s the kind of priest I would like to be, somebody who lays down his life for others. And you and I can be like that, heroically generous and sacrificial, not worried about ourselves if we devote ourselves to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist every day. And if we do that, not only will there be a Eucharistic revival in this country, but a revival of the Church, of civilization, of goodness and compassion.  

So let’s all show up for Jesus next summer at the National Eucharistic Congress in Indianapolis. Everyone from Relevant Radio is going to be there and I hope to see you there, too.

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Rev. Francis J. Hoffman, "Fr. Rocky" is the Executive Director/CEO of Relevant Radio and a priest of Opus Dei.