Editor's note: The following was edited from a piece submitted to Westminster United Church in Humboldt, Sask. The full version can be found here.
This month, Humboldt, Sask.’s St. Augustine’s Catholic Church hosted the funeral for Brody Hinz — one of the 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos' bus crash in rural Saskatchewan, on April 6. He was 18 years old.
More than 1,500 people came to honour the Broncos hockey team's statistician— the crowd extending beyond the church to the school and nearby curling rink. They listened to the funeral reflection delivered by Rev. Brenda Curtis, of Humboldt's Westminster United Church, where Brody had been a special member for 12 years.
Those are the facts — stark and unequivocal.
Undoubtedly, the most recurring theme of the loving messages delivered at Brody’s funeral was “Brody as gift.” Brody as gift to his family, his school, his teachers and his mentors, as well as his teammates. In Rev. Brenda’s own reflection, he was again named as a gift “to our church and to our congregation.”
Most aspects of that horrendous bus tragedy defy explanation or rationalization. Trying to find God’s hand in any aspect of the catastrophe requires tremendous effort and boundless faith.
Still, something of enormous importance sprung from Brody’s farewell service: there was no denominational divide. We weren’t gathered together as Catholics, Protestants or Evangelicals. We were gathered as people of God with one thought, one purpose and one theme: to honour a life lived wholly with compassion, dedication and kindness.
We’ll pray to sustain that ecumenical purpose, as we remember Brody’s final gift — and continue to act upon it.
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