Growing up, my maternal grandfather was seldom seen in the congregation of the church, he was always at the back “helping out” Uncle Harry. I grew up knowing Uncle Harry as Uncle Joe, then others called him Harry, when I asked my grandfather about it he said that he is Harry Joe! You never question wisdom like that!
Uncle Harry would be there to open the church, he’d be there to close the church, he was the man to go to to get your weekly Catholic Standard, or the tickets for the next Festival of Carols. He would hand out the collection baskets to the people who would be needing them for each mass, and he’d have Bibles, Hymnals and other little books on sale too.
He was as grumpy as he was jovial. He was a New Year baby, born on the 1st of January, worked for many years at Banks DIH, from all the way back when it was known as D’Aguiar’s, and he worked at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for as long as my memory serves, up until he was retired a few years ago.
After retirement from his duties in the church he’d try to attend either the early morning 6:00 am mass, or the next one at 7:30 am on Sundays, rain or shine, in his long pants, dress shoes, shirt-jac, umbrella, hat and his spectacle case and pen in his top pocket.
He died on Sunday 17th March 2013, St Patrick’s Day, at around 2am; it was his time. May his Soul Rest in Peace.
I had taken that photograph of him (candidly) two days before my own birthday in 2011, and he was sitting there staring towards this altar below: