St Leo’s church was crowded for the funeral of Br. Douglas, with family, friends, former work colleagues and his fellow Marist Brothers. The numbers present, many of whom had travelled distances for the funeral, said it all about the regard, esteem and love in which Br Douglas was held.
Members of the St Mungo Singers led the congregation in singing the entrance hymn Be thou my vision as Br Douglas’s coffin was brought in and symbols of his life and work were placed on it: a Bible, his Profession Cross, the Marist Constitutions and Rule of Life, and an Indian prayer gong and photos from the India Village Project which he had been so involved in.
Br Brendan spoke after the readings (Isaiah 63:7&9; Psalm 138; Romans 14:7-8; Matthew 5:1-12) and reflecting on them, said that at every funeral we came not only to remember the person who had died but also the saving work of God in their lives. The reading from St Paul reminded him of John Donne’s famous quote of no man being an island, and the presence of so many in the church for Br Douglas confirmed the truth of those words.
Finally the Gospel reading was a manifesto for living for Br Douglas, as were the words of St Teresa of Avila “Christ has no body but yours….” . Br Douglas lived his life according to the Beatitudes, teaching with imagination and creativity in various schools, developing the Recovery Unit in Dundee, the global citizenship project and the India Village Project.
In retirement he used his language skills in translation work for the Vatican. Now, in the words of the final line of one translation of Psalm 138 “Complete the work you have begun”, this is what we have come together to do today.
Before the Final Commendation and Farewell, Br Douglas’s nephew Nicholas spoke warmly and humorously of his uncle, from his childhood through his working years to his retirement. He thanked all who had come, many from considerable distances, to pay their respects.