Somebody in a church congregation came over to a fellow parishioner and asked: “May I pose to you a serious question that you may not have pondered before?” The one posing the question had a friendly and trusting face, so the person answered: “Yes, you may ask your personal question. What is it?”
They replied: “Mostly when people in the Catholic Faith pass away, they have not thought about what they could leave behind to the benefit of their church, much less to the benefit of the world. I’d like to ask you if you have ever considered becoming an organ donor?”
You see, it was “Temple of the Body” month in the Archdiocese and a campaign by its Archbishop was underway for people to think compassionately on donating human body parts to science and to other people in need for the common good of humanity. Catholics had often assumed they needed to be buried fully intact, and the Archbishop’s campaign wanted his flock to understand that organ donation or cadaver donation could be a final act of one’s being merciful or helpful to others in humankind. This week, unapparent to some parishioners, was the day presentatives were outside in church vestibules looking for interest…
The rather healthy, though aging man, looked at the questioner and smiled, saying: “You know, I am already been an organ donor. I figured I needn’t have waited until I passed away to be generous of myself. But I thought the pastor was keeping my donation a secret for now.”
The questioner asked further, wondering if the man was, perhaps, an eye donor through the Lions International, or a Heart or Blood Donor person with the Red Cross. “So, what will you pass on, if may I ask? Which organ is it? Have you made arrangements on your driver’s license and with your family for the immediate removal of your vitals?”
With now a confused look, the donor said: “They dare not take away what I have already given for posterity!! I intend it to be a long-lasting gift here!” Now the questioner was confused– blurting: “-But they have to remove it for it to be of use to others. You surely understand that. And it needs to be in your living will.” (The questioner was thinking that the donating man didn’t realize that eyes or a heart or liver or another precious organ had to be extracted from the body quickly at the time of death. To offer one’s organ was generous, but it was with the understanding that communication and expediency and clear arrangements had to be all in place when “the time” had arrived. One’s organs could be the dire need of another human person’s body and their survival.)
The man being questioned said: “Now, I must say that I shouldn’t allowed you to ask all of this of me. Certainly you have upset me! And, the pastor has made it clear to me, noone will ever take my donated organ out of this church! It’s part of the arrangement.” The questioner didn’t follow him, saying: “What? Out of this church? No, you see, it has to be done way before you are laid out in this church for your Mass of Christian Burial. Days before.”
The man, still upset, replied: “It would especially be important to me, that my organ be present for my Mass of Christian Burial! And I have arranged how it shall make my Mass be a great send off! Let me go show you. I asked the pastor to put my organ donation upstairs in the choir loft. It’s in a special place. It hasn’t been used yet, and noone saw it brought up there last week.” up the choir loft they went….
Now the questioner was really confused. “What? Your organ is kept upstairs?!” (He was guessing, maybe this guy donated a kidney already. But what would it be doing in a church? Was there a proper refrigeration unit for storage upstairs? And, if so, why? However, he just followed the man up the church staircase to find the answer, as the donor explained,)
The donor said: “—-you really need to keep it a secret that I was the one who gave this. It cost me $400,000 but I am told its pipes are exquisite. It has 3 manuals and 36 ranks.”
“What?!” I don’t get it.
What’s there to get? I have donated the church a new organ.
And here it is!
Nice, isn’t it? It’s a Bedient Opus 89 Organ. Quite a pipe organ. And I am donating it to this church. It will be played at my funeral. The church needed a new organ, so I am its anonymous donor. An organ donor.