Santa Clara University

Fr. Paul Locatelli 1938-2010

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Fr. Locatelli's Graduation Party

Monday, Jul. 19, 2010

I was at the funeral yesterday evening, which seemed perfect. A little less formal, and "pomp and circumstance" than I might have expected -- but I think Fr. Locatelli would have liked it that way. And still it continued and continued, for maybe 15 minutes (which is a long time!) -- until the crowd gathered grew quite used to it. I was thinking about the ceremony afterwards...and of all the nice parts of it, the part that I remembered most was that cheering crowd -- it seemed to perfect. And the more I have thought about it, the more I am ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED that Fr. Locatelli arranged it. If I had to describe the noise, I would say that it reminded me of nothing so much as a group of kids cheering and throwing up their mortarboards at the end of a college graduation ceremony. As an educator and the President of SCU, I can't imagine that any day would be a happier one for Fr. Locatelli than the annual graduation day -- a mark of success, achievement, launching a group of fine young women and men into the world... And where are SCU graduations held? In the Mission Gardens. And where were we gathered? In the Mission Gardens. And Fr. Locatelli, by all accounts, hated long-winded affairs with lots of speeches -- said he didn't want one. And everyone who spoke said that what Fr. Locatelli loved more than anything was cooking for friends and family and gathering with them over food. When the cheering broke out, we were an hour into the ceremony (which lasted a total of two). The tables in the Mission Gardens were being loaded with the most gorgeous spread of antipasti, breads, meatballs, sausages and red peppers, wine, desserts... I am CONVINCED that those cheering, happy crowd noises were actually Fr. Locatelli looking down and saying "I've GRADUATED! I'm fine and happy beyond belief -- enough of all this talking! My family and my friends are here -- and we need to have a party! So -- get up, go get some wine and food and eat and drink and be happy together in my name!" That is what I will remember most about Fr. Locatelli's funeral: that he wanted us not to spend our time talking, talking, talking -- but to be family together, and enjoy life and each other and be grateful for all we have, and do all the good things that it's within our power to do!