Brian Connell, senior altar server at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, died November 23 at the age of 64. His daughter Candace delivered the eulogy at the November 28 Funeral Mass where he served.
It is a difficult to stand before you and attempt to honour my father in words. It is not an easy task to capture his true essence in a speech but I will try.
He retired as a corporal after 39 years in the police service and dedicated 59 years of his life serving as an altar server.
My dad dedicated his time working hard and in the church, training young people to be the best acolyte they can be. They all knew he was a father figure to all the young servers taking them under his wings as if they were his own children.
My dad was a very generous man. He never asked anyone for help, and he never wanted to be acknowledged for anything he did because when he helped, he simply just helped.
I remember as a little girl going to Sacred Heart and my father had to go to church in the evening. He would bribe me with salt nuts and a glass bottle coke because he knew that was the only way he could get me to stay quiet till Mass was over.
My mother used to quarrel with him for bringing me home late, especially when she called work and they say he was in church, or she called church and he in work. He would tell her jokingly, “at least you know where your husband is”.
At this time, it is especially hard for me knowing that he would not be around to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. This was something we both spoke about a lot. This was a moment I have always dreamed of sharing with him, but I know he will still be at my side.
Dad you will always be my inspiration, I will always love and miss you.
A walking encyclopaedia of the altar servers’ ministry
Brian Connell was the longest-serving altar server in the Archdiocese. He was mentor, a father figure and personal friend to me and many others. He was a walking encyclopaedia of knowledge and experience of the liturgy. The last of a generation, he lived a life of total service to the Church and the Ministry. A true, faithful servant of the Church, he was a symbol of love and loving dedication to God and the altar servers’ ministry. He will be truly missed. Rest in peace, Brian.
—From Anthony Alexander, senior server past 41 years, founding member of the altar servers’ council, past president and friend.