My friend, John Grange, longtime pastor of St. Jerome's Parish in the South Bronx, died early yesterday morning of cancer.
He was a man of many parts: as comfortable living in a Mexican village as enjoying a concert at Lincoln Center or visitng the Frick Museum; as absorbed in reading Saul Alinsky as Bernard Lonergan.
John was steadfast in friendship, generous with his time and gifts, a sometimes gruff exterior thinly veiling a keen sensitivity and sensibility. In him head and heart joined in fruitful union – but heart always prevailed.
The one misstep in the tribute is to identify him as "a disciple of the community organizer Saul Alinsky." John may have learned from Saul, but he was a disciple of Jesus. He told the countless visitors during his last days at Calvary Hospital: "Pray for me – I'm going home to Jesus!"