By Kathy Fanger
“Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share in your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
Brother LeRoy Viera, Society of Mary (Marianist) entered into heaven January 20 at the age of 92. His life story is a testimony to Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to give you a future full of hope.”
School never captured LeRoy’s passion. His strength was working with his hands, building, repairing and creating. LeRoy spent many hours working in the Antioch vineyards, walking back and forth into town. God moved into his life as someone LeRoy could talk to, share his frustrations with, and receive advice.
LeRoy felt called to become a religious. After pursuing three religious orders unsuccessfully, LeRoy’s cousin led him to the Marianists. His many assignments included Mitty, Chaminade and Serra High Schools and constructing the Cupertino Provincialate, Infirmary and Marianist Center.
Brother LeRoy endeared himself to students and parents alike. He worked into the wee hours of the night, assuring that everything was set up for lunches and events. The PA system, toilets and lights always worked. He hosted luaus, built drama sets, and taught students carpentry skills. Brother LeRoy would tease, laugh, compliment, correct, and praise. He was always in the background, quietly pitching in.
LeRoy took up glazing hundreds of ceramic statues of the Blessed Mother, gifting them to Marianist classrooms and offices in California and Hawaii and anyone who requested one for their own.
“Tag, you’re it!”
LeRoy’s longtime friend, Steve Thomas Murphy, a teacher and directee, shared at his Vigil:
‘”I liked to drop in unannounced at LeRoy’s community and leave a sticky note on his mirror or desk, letting him know it was his turn that day to make the world a better place. “Tag, you’re it.”
LeRoy and I played this game for 22 years. Whoever tagged the other was passing on a simple task, following the words of Mary, “Do whatever he tells you.” And so, we did. “Tag, you’re it” was the reminder in our emails, letters and in person.
LeRoy was my hero. My mentor. And so much more to so many others. He was an inspiration to live a good, simple and selfless life for others.
I will miss LeRoy’s sweet soul. A soul that was kind, gentle, generous and loving. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He would offer to patch the hole in your roof or help you move to a new apartment. And you never had to ask.
LeRoy knew who needed help because he listened to Mary. There was nobody more devoted to the Mother of Jesus than Brother LeRoy Viera. Nobody.
Heaven has a new saint. The brightest light any of us will ever have the privilege of knowing. That light has been called home to tend God’s rose garden, perhaps repair the pearly gates, and maybe even remodel some of the clouds.
We are now tasked with carrying on Brother LeRoy’s good works – to make the world a better place. To fulfill Mary’s wish, “Do whatever he tells you.” And what better way than living selflessly and loving unconditionally? I’d like to think LeRoy’s final words were – “Tag. You’re all ‘it’ now.”’
Brother LeRoy is buried at Gate of Heaven alongside priests, religious sisters and his Marianist brothers. Like LeRoy, Catholic Cemeteries is here to assist you. We will walk with you on this end-of-life journey with kindness, gentleness and compassion.
*Excerpts taken from the reflections of Rev. Alan DeLong, SM and Steve Thomas Murphy.
Planning a Catholic Funeral
March 16: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saint Joseph of Cupertino Parish – Community Center 10110 N. DeAnza Blvd. Cupertino
Presenters: Father Christopher Bennett, Beddingfield Funeral Service and Catholic Cemeteries
The Vigil, Funeral Mass and Committal (graveside services) each have distinct purposes in the journey toward healing and wholeness. Come learn about the Church’s comforting Catholic rituals and prayers and the services and options offered through a funeral home and Catholic Cemeteries. Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of peace of mind by having your end-of-life plans in place. (See ad on back page.)
March 20: 7 – 9 p.m. (3rd Wed. each month)
890 Benton Street, Santa Clara (corner of Lafayette)
Facilitator: Candee Lucas, M.A. Pastoral Ministries
Want a safe place to talk about death and dying and what it means? How do we participate or incorporate dying into our lives as we come upon that experience? Space provided by Santa Clara University Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries. For more information: www.deathcafe.com/deathcafe. Endorsed by Catholic Cemeteries
New Paths for Healing
Travelling through Lent with personal grief. A diverse retreat for those grieving a loss.
April 6: 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
St. Mary’s Parish – Hofmann Center 219 Bean Ave. Los Gatos
Join us for a day of reflection encountering the presence of God in your daily life in the midst of grieving. The day will include prayer, reflection, opportunities to share and hands-on activities to explore the ways in which grief and God color our lives. $15. RSVP required by Tues. Apr. 2. (408) 342-1517 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information or to schedule a free workshop in your parish, contact Catholic Cemeteries (650) 428-3730 or email@example.com.