Monday, August 31, 2015


August 30, 2015

His hollowed, hallowed eyes say so much.  Hidden beneath the gratitude and love, one can see the suffering and the surrender.  He has been such a valiant suffering soul.

Wound care three times a week for the past _10_______ years has taken its toll.

He is a suffering Christ.
    The circular wound on the crown of his head- once all scabby - now has a crater about one inch in diameter.
    Having gone through the pain of radiation and the resulting blisters, his lower lip is disappearing more and more to the point that only half the lip remains.  Keeping saliva within his mouth is an added challenge.
    His breathing has become more and more difficult.  Simply walking to the bathroom is hard on his lungs.
    The wounds on his back are multiplying as though he were scourged.
    The wounds on his feet are coming back with a vengeance.
    The wound on his left side is bigger than my hand.

My dear brother,
    In an age where people are so concerned about how they look, I  have watched you endure with such patient endurance, the stares of others, the pointing of their fingers, the gossip about your appearance.  
I have watched you struggle to get into the bath water before wound care and moan as the water hits your open wounds.  I have heard you say, “Jesus, you know how much I love you,” as you got into water that was a little too cool.
    I have watched you take a towel and press it to your enlarged side wound and say, “Jesus, I love you,” before you tear it away.
    Whenever I hear Enya, John Denver, or Louis Armstrong, they make me think of wound care - how their voices helped “distract” you from the moment.
    I once got the courage up to ask you if you had asked our Lord to be a victim-soul.  Your reply, “Since day one, I have offered my sufferings for priests.”

How I long to bring you comfort!

I am so grateful to assist with your wound care - a necessary evil.  And yet this showing of compassion causes you so much pain which weighs so heavily on my heart.

I am so sad that you suffer.
I am so sad that you are dying.
And I will be so sad when you are no longer with us.

These emotions can be so conflicting - I want you here, but I know you suffer.  I don’t want you to suffer, but I don’t want you to die.  We all hang on to hope - we want you here with us.  

I’m scared of the grief, of losing a sibling, of losing you.

In the end, it isn’t what we want.  We must remember to submit ourselves to God’s will - to surrender all --- our fears, our wants, our sorrows, our joys.
And yet, I still wonder ….   
  • did I comfort Joe enough?
  • did I spend enough quality time with him?
  • did I apologize enough for all of the grievances I have caused Joe from youth to now? (being one year and one day apart in age has brought us both some memorable occasions)
  • did I cause Joe more pain during wound care due to my lack of medical expertise or for any other reason?

Why am I so weak?  Why can’t I place all of my trust in Jesus? The spirit is willing; the flesh is so weak.

I think of Our Blessed Mother who had the strength and the grace to watch her Beloved Son be scourged almost to the point of death, then watch as her Beloved Son carried the cross of our sins, fall, and struggle to stand back up, then watch as the nails were hammered into her Beloved Son’s hands and feet, then watch as her Beloved Son struggled to breathe as He took His final breath, and finally, hold her Beloved Son’s torn up Body in her arms.

I am turning to Mary to help me with my overwhelming grief about my beloved brother’s scourged body, about my beloved brother’s struggle to walk from A to B, about the pain my beloved brother experiences in the taking off and the applying of bandages and ointment to his wound-covered body, and about my beloved brother’s final breath.

Our Lady of Sorrows,
pray for us.


  1. Denise- some of those thoughts and fears are my own. Day by day minute by minute, Jesus I trust in you. ((((Hugs))))

  2. To dear Father Joseph: Today I found out about you after more than 10 years since I last saw you. I was a parishioner at St Katherine's in Kennesaw and I moved to Fayette county and lived there until this year. The last time I saw you I gave you a medal of the then newly canonized Juan Diego. It had been sent to me by my godmother. It was authentic from the Basilica de Gudalupe in Mexico city. You did not want to accept it but I insisted because I knew that you were going to Emory to get a transplant. My kids were little then and they remember you telling them to "hold the door for your mother"when we were coming in to the church.
    A coworker of mine who knows you well happened to ask me if I ever knew you and I remembered you immediately. Your homilies were always so full of zeal and passion for the Lord and the Church. I will never forget them. I am amazed by you and your trials and I assure you that you have touched many people in this difficult journey. I just wanted to let you know. You are surrounded by a wonderful family and a wonderful church. You have great strength and trust in God. With sincere appreciation Susan Rullan

  3. Words cannot express what you, Father Joseph, mean to so many who know you or are aware of your suffering. You are a true inspiration to all of us. You have offered your body to our Lord and He is using you in a way not many could follow. May God bless you as you struggle to live as He would have you live and that your pain would be lessened if that is God's will. My prayers are with you and your dear family.

  4. So not ready to let go! But so ready for him to be free from this Passion, this suffering, however God's will be done! Thank you Denise for being there for him....

    This has been and will continue to be our struggle with our attachment to the human body & our desire to have him here with us. It is so hard. Choked up many times thinking about it. May God give him strength & us peace to know He is in control & and has a plan. I love you Fr. Joe! I love you Denise!

    1. You are such a strong family and I am inspired by your faith in the Lord! Thank you!

  5. We pray for Fr. Joe and the Peek family. It's hard to even imagine losing a brother or a son. We have so many fond memories of Fr. Joe. The first time he came to our house he kept us entertained for hours. So much fun. May our Lord wrap you in His love and comfort.

  6. On October 3,2002, Fr. Joseph brought Jesus, and we together witnessed God's amazing grace as He brought my father, most miraculously into His presence. Our gratitude, to Fr. Joseph, and to his family who so graciously have shared him with us, knows no bounds. How blessed we are to have been shown, first by my father, then by Fr. Joseph and his family, the grace in suffering, the complete reliance on God and submission to His will, and the beauty of a soul filled with love for others. Our prayers are with you...we remember, we celebrate, we believe!

  7. I will always remember Fr Joseph's great wisdom during his talks and homilies. I truly enjoyed to listen to him as you always felt at peace. I am distraught to hear of his declining health. His trust in God and constant unification of his sufferings to Christ's is an example for all Christians. Help us all to endure and preservere by his example. Many prayers to you and your family.

  8. Thank you Denise for being able to be there with him. My prayer is that he may be fully ready to meet Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all the saints including our little ones when he takes his last breath. His suffering is a visual of his and our sins and for Priests to unite closer to Christ. God knew this gift of suffering and sacrifice was just that, a gift for Fr Joe. All his training in being the best "POW", God knows. He knows that Fr Joe can help save so many and help redirect our souls closer to Christ. May we keep close to Mary during this last watch. May she comfort our hearts and may God's timing have mercy on Fr Joe.

  9. Fr. Joe, dear friend, your gentle soul, your wisdom, your holy example, and your crazy schemes, have all been part of what has touched our lives over these many years. I remember sewing the priest insignias on your ball caps while you sang and Ron tried to record the accompanying music. The "nun run" which led Barbara to Carmel and ultimately blessed Ron and I with a lifelong relationship with the Sisters. Your marriage prep for Barbara and Robert, and the grace-filled way you handled the extensive nuances which accompanied that. Being there for their wedding. Being there for Ron's funeral. I remember talking with you at a Eucharistic Congress years ago where you shared you intention of offering your suffering for priests. You have suffered well, my friend. May Our Lady, to whom you have such strong devotion, be with you now in these trials to bring you comfort and consolation. All my love and prayers, Chris

  10. I will never forget receiving Holy Communion from you at All Saints, I believe, a few years ago Fr. Joe. I had just looked at a picture of Jesus in my Pieta prayer book before I walked up to receive. You looked exactly like the picture!! I experienced the meaning of in persona Christi like never before...The love, mercy, and compassion in your eyes will stay with me forever....God be with you, dearest Fr. Joe.

  11. Words are not enough.......My prayer of Thanksgiving for you to Our Lord . Thank you Fr. Joe for your "Fiat" and your walk to Calvary, your Passion ... for souls. Thank you so much for your love for His Church and His Priests. You have brought Joy to so many... I pray for the Holy Spirit, through Mary
    His Spouse, bring consolation and comfort to you and your family and I pray with St. James that you .....Count it all Joy . JMJ

  12. He will be OK, last I remember God likes Priests. The part that gets you down now, will be a huge relief in a short time. That he gets to walk down the red carpet into heaven and leave the world and it's false values and it's broken promises once and for all! In a weird way this is the happiest of times although we all are griveved and sorrowful. We don't see the big picture and it causes us pain, but the big picture leads to unfathonable joy.

  13. Father Joe, I met you 3 years ago. I was in a panic because I had missed understood the time mass was to start and it was the last one on Sunday. I was stressed from personal things going on in my life at the time, I was moving, uprooting my entire life, I had a child to take care of who was watching me go through this and now I had missed mass- like an angel, you appeared from nowhere. I saw you and instantly felt the presence of Jesus Christ. I started sobbing immediately as you wrapped your arms around me. I felt Grace enter my body and suddenly I could breathe again. You looked me straight in the eyes and said " what are you doing right now? Let's go get some Mexican food across the street!" And that's what we did- you, me and my little boy went to eat Mexican food and for the first time in a long time we laughed - Joy was returned to our lives. What you don't know about that night is that you saved us. So much pain, sadness and disappointment surrounded us that it was hard to see anything else. You broke through the clouds and brought the Son once again- From that day, our family was changed. Hope was restored and we fell back in love with our Catholic faith. I have no doubt God uses you for His Holy work. I know it first hand . I was hugged by Jesus himself and his name is Father Joe!

  14. Prayers to you and your family, Father Joseph.