The Catholic Archdiocese of Miami lost two beloved figures during the holiday season: the Rev. Joseph Carney of Blessed Trinity Church, and Mariangela Buch, a veteran teacher at Immaculata-LaSalle High School.
Buch, who taught American history, died Christmas Day. She suffered from Lupus and developed a stomach aneurysm, according to an email to the schools faculty from principal Sister Kim Keraitis.
She was 56.
As I reflect on Mariangelas life and her death, I think it appropriate that God would choose Christmas Day just as she was an angel among us, wrote Keraitis. Her life was a gift to each of us she loved her students and she loved being a member of ILS faculty.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Monday at Immaculata-LaSalle, 3601 S. Miami Ave., Coconut Grove. Buch is survived by a brother.
The Rev. Joseph T. Carney, 70, quietly endured several ailments, including a Parkinsons-like palsy. He recently learned he had leukemia, and was undergoing treatment for pneumonia at Mount Sinai Medical Center when he died there Wednesday.
The Rev. Jim Fetscher, pastor of St. Sebastian Church in Fort Lauderdale, had been a friend since their student days at Miamis St. John Vianney Seminary.
He described Carney as a big, strong guy who stood well over six feet tall and had a laconic sense of humor that took a moment to get.
The Cleveland native, born July 10, 1942, kept a low profile, and quietly built his Miami Springs parish since taking over as spiritual leader in 1982.
We are the beneficiaries of so many who have come before us, who poured themselves out for this parish, he said in 2003, during the churchs 50th anniversary celebration. If those who come after us are to celebrate 50 years, it will have to be because of what you and I do.
He renovated the sanctuary, adding very functional buildings: classroom, a parish hall and a new rectory, Fetscher said.
They appreciated him a lot out there, he added.
None, perhaps, more than Theresa Martinez, a parish member for 33 years my entire life who has worked for the archdiocese for a decade and has three young children at the churchs school, her own alma mater.
To her, Carney was the ideal example of a parish priest: cheerful, accessible, compassionate and such an inspiring teacher that students jump out of their seats to answer his questions.
Hes a tall man who comes alive with children, Martinez said, a larger-than-life man who was happy as can be.
Every Halloween, hed dress up as a clown, toot a bicycle horn and tow a wheelbarrow overflowing with candy during a holiday parade.
Yet, she said, he felt our pain. He was part of everyones family.
When he revealed during a Christmas service that he had leukemia, the congregation gasped, Martinez said. He asked for their prayers, and promised hed keep them in his.
He had not been there for a while because of the pneumonia, but everyone thought of it as, Hes just away; Hes coming back. ... He was putting a brave face for us, she said. He had his chin held high. If we could have, wed have rushed the altar to give him a hug.
But Carney, never one to seek attention, left the sanctuary before the end of the services.
The ministry to which Carney was most devoted was Marriage Encounter, an enrichment program for married couples.
He was very faithful to it and to the couples who participated in it, and was the programs chief booster in the diocese, Fetscher said.
According to information provided by the archdiocese, Carney went from St. John Vianney to St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, and was ordained at St. Marys Cathedral on May 25, 1968, by Miamis first archbishop, Coleman F. Carroll.
He served in various capacities at Nativity Parish in Hollywood, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and St. John the Baptist in Fort Lauderdale, Church of the Little Flower in Coral Gables, and Our Lady of the Lakes in Miami Lakes before being appointed pastor of Blessed Trinity.
Carney is survived by two brothers, Robert and Timothy Carney. A funeral Mass will be sung at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the church, followed by burial at Our Lady of Mercy Cemetery, 11411 NW 25th St., Doral.