Saturday, October 1, 2016

Emory Winship 5K October 1,2016

It was a beautiful morning cool 51 degrees.  We gathered at the top level of the parking deck to have mass prior to the race.  St Therese Lisieux feast day celebrated today.  Karen Pickins and her group from St Catherine's who have run/walked for and with Father Joseph since 2011 were there.  She had asked Father Joseph what she could do for him.  He told her collect stories from people out there about me and when completed give to my mom.  Karen worked over the last 18 months collecting stories and pictures and put together a memory book for my mother.  Over time I will share some of  these stories.  Along our run/walk today we ran into John and Erin in the blue shirts.  Erin in physically challenged, but with the encouragement of John, who is recovering from some heart issues, began working out at the gym on the treadmill.  She continued and here they are today completing the 5K in honor of Father Joseph.  Erin had gone to several retreats led by Father Joseph and was moved by them.   It was a good morning listening to stories about Father Joseph and meeting people who were encouraged by his life and example.  Thank you everyone for such an encounter.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Winship 5k preview

Tomorrow October 1 some of us will be walking the Winship 5K run walk to raise funds for Emory Cancer Center.  This is where Father Joseph had all his care from beginning treatment on Gleevec for Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia to wound care for his chronic graft versus host disease.  He walked this walk in 2013 one last time.  He was unable to in 2014 and 2015.  Last year was a rain out and we went to church instead.  Father Joseph mustered up the strength to walk from the rectory to  the church at  All Saints to be with us.  This year he watches us from a different view point.  God bless you Father Joseph and thank you for your wonderful witness of Patient Endurance. I will post tomorrow about this years race with pictures.                             ImageWaiting for the start

Article about Father Joseph Peek and his support and spiritual guidance to PATH

This is an article in the PATH newsletter from this summer.This is one of the recipients of donations given in Father Josephs name in lieu of flowers at his funeral. Thanks to all who donated.            

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Monsignor Hugh Marren

Our family moved to the Atlanta area in August 1972.  I was four at the time and remember when my siblings started Immaculate Heart of Mary School.  When Father Joseph was about ten and I was seven, Monsignor Marren was stationed at our church.  Father Joseph started as an altar server at this time.  Little did we all know the ramifications and future endeavor these two would have.  Father Joseph went to IHM until 7th grade and Monsignor moved to different parishes.  In 1998 when I moved back to the area with my husband and two children at the time, we went to St Benedicts and low and behold who was the pastor but Monsignor.  I remember him saying not many of you know who I am, but my sister and I knew very well.  He was the man I saw carry around 50 lb sacks of concrete and said "pam" Sunday and in the "sams" for psalms.  Forward a few years and it is Monsignor again at All Saints accepting Father Joseph to his parish in fall of 2011 to continue his priestly mission.  Little did we know how much Monsignor would mean to our family in the final years of Father Joseph's life and the final days.  Monsignor has a big heart and dearly loved my brother.  Monsignor just recently celebrated his 40 years of priesthood.  Thank you Monsignor for answering your call and assisting with our brother's final journey.  God bless you.

Be open to God's calling.  You never know when you will be needed in someone's life and you may not realize who in your life presently will come back around and be a help for you in your time of need.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

Today we remember all the fallen soldiers who died to keep our country free.  We remember Father Joseph and we remember Jesus Christ.  For as our pastor told us yesterday at mass, He to is a fallen soldier who paid the ultimate price for the freedom from our sins.  So I hope you all had a wonderful time with family and friends this weekend and God bless you all.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Prayer Quilt

Father Joseph slept on his couch for about the whole month before he passed away.  We had obtained  hospice bed for him about the same time but he was not ready to make that transition.  It was almost as if he was telling us once I am in that bed I will have transitioned into the next phase.  So we never pushed him into anything he was not ready for.  Thursday night before he passed, Fr Kevin and I had to help Father Joseph for several hours with some tasks.  It was incredibly painful to see him go through these tasks again not taking anything away from him.  Before he went back to the couch,  we discussed with him the option of this bed that was very comfortable and would help him with some of the  pressure sores he had on his body that were being irritated by sleeping on the  couch and the fact that this bed could be adjusted with height and head and leg position.  He agreed to try it.  A few weeks earlier  I  had made with bed linens that were similar in texture to the couch so that it would feel similar on  his broken down skin.  I searched in a closet and found a quilt made by a homeschool group out in Kennesaw, GA from St. Catherine's.  One side was made of a fabric bought at a store with prayers on it.  The other side was square quilt pieces they put prayers on from different families and some had drawn pictures.  I just picked the prayer fabric side again for the texture against his skin.  The square side may have had some bumps or stitching that he may or may not  of been sensitive to.  When he passed away and the funeral home came to take him away, I picked up the quilt and found that the underside where his head wound was positioned as he lay there was on top of the square someone had stitched in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Thank you for those who made this  blanket and the amount of time, love and prayer you put into it.  He was "surrounded" by this even to his final days.  Keep praying for him.  God Bless all of you. 
Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for us.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Last View of the Ocean

This was taken during our trip to Puerto Rico.  This was his last trip to the beach.  Video is a bit shaky but I wanted to share with those who are unable to make a trip to the beach. God works in mysterious ways as it so happened that the four of us who were able to make the trip were the four along with mom and dad who were at his deathbed.

It is Mother's day today as I post.  Father Joseph really loved his mother.  I truly believe more than she ever will know. Please give your mom a hug and a kiss today for all that she has done for you through your life.  God bless

Friday, May 6, 2016

Incensing the Altar

This was the last time he incensed the altar. This was at the confirmation mass for his niece Christina Vivanco. January 23,  2015.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Never an Opportunity Miss

Father Joseph spread the word in very creative ways
He found a website where he could design his own front plate for his car.
These were his various license plates.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Priests who assisted "soldiers"

His little sister Elizabeth drew this.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thank You

I took my son to the orthopedist yesterday for a follow up visit.  The day after Father Joseph passed away, my son was out on a longboard (a board longer than the typical skateboard) and he decided to use a cell phone app to clock an average speed he was going.  Needless to say he got up to 32 miles per hour.  He had a helmet on like a smart fellow but no shoes.  Of all the nephews of Father, my son is the only one who has served for the Archbishop and under Mr. Huynh so it was looking as if this was not going to be possible.  Thankfully the only take away from the accident was a wrist injury that needed only local bracing and a foot injury that needed a small boot and he was able to serve.
So at the appointment yesterday the doctor said, "how far are we out from the incident, six weeks?"  Of course you have to recall what event it was around and memories of that week returned.  At my workplace on the wall is my diploma from college.  It hangs above the copy machine and looking at it the other day I was reminded of 26 years ago and some of the events of that day.
Father Joseph carrying me in the parking lot.

Now we are ending the month of April and entering the month of May.  One in which we remember the Mother of God and her fiat saying yes to the mission that she was asked to fulfill. Father Joseph realized how special the role of Mary's was and wished to share her with all.
He shared this statue of Our Lady of Fatima with many in the Atlanta Diocese.

During this time, I wish to thank all of you from the diocese and from all over for the prayers and sacrifices you offered for Father Joseph.  During those long months, we all rallied together to serve him in the way God had fit for each of us.  Each one of our jobs was no smaller or greater than the others.  The outpouring at the wake and funeral was heaven sent and beautiful.  That memory will never fade.  God bless all of you and the mission you are presently in.  Walk strongly with the Lord and help one another along.  Giv'em heaven.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Funeral homily and eulogy

Click here to view Fr Kevin Peek's homily at Fr Joseph Peek's funeral.

 Click here to view Msgr Hugh Marren's eulogy.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

It is never too late to get to confession.
Easter is coming!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It is Finished March 13 into early March 14, 2016

“It is finished”

As each hour passed, and it became apparent the Fr. Joseph would more than likely never wake up, the family continued to pray and keep watch.  Fr. Joe was fortunate to have a tabernacle set up in his walk-in closet.  A big picture of the Divine Mercy image hung above the tabernacle.  An LED lighted flickering votive candle stood sentinel above the tabernacle.  A soft kneeler and a large, overstuffed chair were placed in front for all prayer warriors.  It was my favorite place to be when Fr. Joe was sleeping.  From the closet, I could hear if he was awakening, but more importantly, I could feel the peace that only Christ can give.

As each hour slipped by, I prayed, I surrendered, and I prayed some more.

Many family members were able to come and be with Fr. Joe.  Two of his nieces sang a beautiful Latin hymn for him.  Sisters prayed by his side.

Around 11:00 p.m. Fr. Kevin said he would be offering Sunday Mass at Fr. Joe’s bedside.  My parents, two siblings, two nephews, and a niece were present.  Songs were sung, and Mass was celebrated while Fr. Joe slept before us, his breathing becoming more rapid.  When communion time came, Fr. Kevin, ever so thoughtful of his older brother, shook some particles from the host into Fr. Joe’s mouth.  Every so often, saliva would collect at the back of Fr. Joe’s throat, at which time he would have an immense-sounding swallow.  After some time, I heard him swallow and knew he had received Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar for the last time.

Feeling Fr. Joe’s hot forehead, my sister Margaret took his temperature which read 105.6.  We had already removed one of the two blankets that covered him.  We wanted to hold his hands, so we slightly lowered the only blanket now covering him.  We were surprised to see that his hands were folded in prayer position.  Normally, when Fr. Joe would lie down to sleep , he placed his hands in such a way as to hold the blanket away from his wounded mouth and his wounded shoulder.  I can never remember a time during his illness when he had them folded as they were now.  We placed a crucifix in his hands, and then added his rosary that I would often use to pray with as he slept.  Lastly, we put the front of the scapular that he was wearing next to the crucifix.

I got to thinking that Fr. Joe’s last attempt to hydrate was 1:00 p.m.  A few years ago, a friend of mine contracted Guillaine-Barre syndrome, a sudden paralysis of the body.  When she finally regained her ability to talk, she said how thirsty she had been and how she wished she could ask for water.  I thought my brother had to be thirsty but did not have the energy to even speak.  So I mentioned to Margaret that there was a lollipop-type sponge used for quenching thirst in a package near his bed.  I suggested that maybe we should try to quench his thirst.  She agreed and put the sponge in some water.  She then placed it on his tongue and then around his wounded lips.  I sensed he was still thirsty, so she repeated the procedure.

After Mass, we pulled up a singing version of the Divine Mercy Chaplet - a favorite prayer of our family.  While praying, we would all touch his hands, his face, his feet - something we could never do while he was alive because of his painful wounds.  One of his caregivers once brought up the fact that his hands never had wounds on them, and the likely reason was because his hands held the Body of Christ.

For some reason, the chaplet was on repeat, so after praying it once, we kept it rolling for a few more chaplets.  We then searched on the computer for the Ave Maria.  Again the computer would repeat between the Benedictine monks singing the Ave Maria to an order of nuns reciting the Ave Maria in Latin.  We jokingly said that our older sister, Sr. Mary Agnes of the Immaculate Heart of Mary - a Carmelite cloistered nun in Erie, Pennsylvania, was with us.  
Ironically, one of Fr. Joe’s caregivers, a young lady named Jordan, had spent the weekend with our sister in Erie.  She was to fly back to Atlanta yesterday, but between flight delays and wrong turns on the highway, she didn’t make it back until close to midnight.  The Carmelites, in honor of Lent, do not write or call until after Easter.  So we were surprised - not really - to learn that Jordan came back with a letter from Sister to her beloved brother Fr. Joe.  Jordan thought it was too late to bring the letter by the rectory, but God’s timing is always perfect.  The letter was brought, and Fr. Kevin read our sister’s beautiful parting words to her little brother, Fr. Joe.  The time was now around 1:00 a.m.

My parents are elderly and staying up past midnight or even 11:00 is a bit late.  We encouraged my mom to rest in the side bedroom and promised her we would get her if anything changed.  Fr. Joe’s often repeated request, unbeknownst to my parents, was to have both parents present at the end.  

A while ago, Margaret had printed out a Resignation to Death prayer for us to pray quietly whenever we were with Fr. Joe or thinking of Fr. Joe.  I had probably prayed the lengthy prayer only two or three times prior to last night.  Something made me get up, go to my prayer bag, and find the prayer sheet.  My copy looked a bit tattered, not because of usage, but because the water bottle I bring to school always leaks.  

We pulled out our flashlights in the dimly lit room and sat on the floor around his bed, Dad in a chair beside him, and begin to earnestly and fervently pray the prayer of Resignation.  It is a beautiful, beautiful prayer.  An additional prayer to St. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus was written on the back of the prayer sheet, and we prayed that as well.

Upon finishing the prayer, we looked at Fr. Joe, and he appeared to be no longer breathing.  I was caught off-guard - we all knew the inevitable would happen, but Fr. Joe’s indomitable spirit, his strong will to live, always seemed to win.  My sister woke my mom, and we were now all gathered by his side.  We all knelt up and touched Fr. Joe.  When I put my hand on his forehead, he took a long gasp of air.  It is said that the cause of death at a crucifixion is from exhaustion and asphyxiation.  Fr. Joe, exhausted and barely able to breathe, had reached Calvary; he had reached his end.

After about six to ten seconds, another long gasp of air.  While he struggled to breathe, I would repeat, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, have mercy on us.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, we trust in you. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, have mercy on Joe’s soul.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, have mercy on Joe’s body.”  The whole time he was taking his final gasps, Fr. Kevin was praying prayers for the dying, a prayer of Apostolic Pardon, and so many more.  My two medical sisters - a doctor and a nurse - felt for a pulse in his wrist and feet.  Upon their touching his feet, he took one more long gasp, and that was it. All I kept thinking is this is how most people would want to die - not the suffering part, but the being surrounded by loved ones, celebrating the Mass, praying the Divine Mercy and other prayers, with a priest who happens to be your brother praying your soul to heaven.

At 1:25 a.m., my brother was hugged by Christ.  

Shortly after Fr. Joe’s death, Fr. Kevin celebrated Mass for Monday, once again around his bedside.  We sang songs before and after.

While alive, Fr. Joe, who appropriately was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, had wounds that would bleed out beyond the bandages.  I would ask him if he wanted new dressings for his wounds or if he wanted a wet washcloth to cleanse the dried bloodstreams.  He would always say no - just submitting to whatever happened to him.  I longed to cleanse him, and now, after his passing, I could.

Margaret and Kathy trimmed his beard and mustache.  Margaret cleansed the dried blood on his disfigured face.  I cleansed his wounded feet and his legs.  We laughed because he hated when we touched his ticklish, sensitive feet.  Kathy, Margaret, Fr. Kevin, and I then surrounded his bed, grabbed the quilts under Fr. Joe’s body, and re-positioned his body centering him on the bed. I then remembered the frankincense in Fr. Joe’s bathroom and how my sisters used the oil on their little stillborns before their funeral, I got the oil and began to spread it on his head, his chest, his feet.  We then opened the windows and turned on the lights, as the gates of Heaven were opening and our brother would finally see the Light of God.

P.S.  Fr. Joe passed on the feast day of St. Matilda, the patron saint of parents with large families.

This is written by big sister.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Giv'em Heaven

I Thirst (Sunday March 13, 2016)

“I thirst”

On Sunday around 11:30 a.m., Fr. Joseph awoke from his morning slumber.  Whenever he awoke, he would need an arm and a hand to assist him from the prone position to the sitting position.  Once he was seated, I ran to the small refrigerator in the kitchen in his room to round up the usual menu choices:  lemon-lime Gatorade, white Vitamin-D organic whole milk, organic chocolate milk, and A&W root beer.

Because it was difficult for Fr. Joe to raise his head and eyes, I would sit on the ground so that I could look up into his eyes that spoke volumes especially when he couldn’t.  The menu choices were placed beside me so that he could non-verbally indicate what his selection would be this morning.  He usually chose Gatorade, so I held that up.  After receiving no indication of interest, I asked him if he was getting tired of Gatorade, and he shook his head, “Yes.”  When I held up the chocolate milk, he indicated that was what he would have for his lunch.

Whenever Fr. Joe drank, he used a straw in order to suck up the fluid because he no longer had a lower lip to help keep the fluid in his mouth.  He now needed more assistance in helping him to hold the bottle and straw to his lips.  This time, however, he pulled the straw out.  I thought to myself that maybe he was not having a lucid moment, so I said, “Joe, I think you need the straw,” and I put it back into his drink.  He proceeded to pull the straw back out and then struggled to lift the bottle to the side of his lips to drink from the corner of his mouth.

It then dawned on me that he was so, so thirsty and no longer had the energy to suck the fluid up into his mouth, so his engineer mind was trying to figure out how he would quench his thirst.  I held the bottle, and Fr. Kevin placed a mat on his lap to catch any overflow or spillage.  As I held the bottles and caressed his hands, I also held two washcloths around the bottle to catch what I thought would be the typcial drips, only this time, the drips became a deluge.  What liquid he tried to put in his mouth came pouring out on the other corner of his mouth until we had a puddle on the mat and had to get a thick towel to catch the rest.

Again, my mind went to Christ on the cross.

“After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, "I am thirsty." (John 19:28)  And yet, His thirst, which had to be a physical one after all His body had endured, was more a spiritual one - a thirst for souls.    Fr. Joe could not and did not quench his physical thirst at what would be his last meal on earth.  But I think he knew all things had been accomplished.  It was time to complete his mission.

Fr. Joe’s body started to shake slightly, and I worried that he was cold.  Fr. Kevin said it was his overall physical fatigue.  The body could not do it anymore.  So we helped him lie back down.  As we placed a clean blanket over his body in such a way as not to drag it over his wounds, I noticed his eyes - his big, baby-blue eyes.  They looked intently at the blanket as if it were a shroud descending upon him, and again I thought, “I wonder what this must look like from his position.  A big blanket descending upon you to cover you up and not being able to control if the blanket hits a wound in the wrong spot - submitting to whatever happens.”

Fr. Joe liked to lie on his side and at times - although seldom - on his back with a small pillow to hold up his wounded head.  He chose to lie on his back, so I tucked a pillow under his left shoulder to give him a bit of a rise on his side to avoid causing more pain to the wounds on his back.  

Fr. Joe fell asleep at 1:00 p.m. and never woke up again.
By big sister

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

2007 Profound words of Father Joseph

Thank you God for all the things you taught us through Father Joseph Michael Peek's quiet witness of redemptive suffering.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Requiescat in Pace

Rest in peace - Father Joseph Peek. Your earthly exile is over.

Father forgive them

Fr. Joe "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Whenever Fr. Joe awakes from his slumber, he attempts to sit up, but he now requires an arm and a hand to help him to the sitting position.  Once at the seated position at the edge of the side of his bed, he takes a few minutes to awaken himself, check his wounds, and then attempt to drink.

After he finishes what he can from his drink, we try to figure out a way to get his bottom to move more to the center of the bed before he can position his body to lie back down.  Otherwise, he would roll off the bed.  There were five of us in the room all discussing the best way - the way with the least amount of pain - to move him back.   In the past, he would dig his fist(s) into the bed to help raise himself slightly, but now he is too weak.

Waiting for his signal of readiness since he can no longer communicate verbally, we continued discussing and planning - everyone with some opinion or other.  All of a sudden, Fr. Joe, almost as if to say, “Enough,” put his fists into the mattress and managed to move on his own to the center of  the bed in order to lie down for some much needed rest - rest for his body and rest from our craziness.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”  :)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Join us for the novena to Saint Joseph

The novena to Saint Joseph starts today. Here I have pasted my
favorite Saint Joseph prayer from the Pieta prayer book.
Pray this prayer for 9 consecutive days leading up to the feast of
Saint Joseph on March 19th(start today- 3/10). Please join us by
making your intention a peaceful death for our brother and for all of
his family to accept God's will and His perfect plan.

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt
before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain
for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus
Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly
power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of
Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus
asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your
heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him
to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of
departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

The novena to Saint Joseph starts today. Here I have pasted my
favorite Saint Joseph prayer from the Pieta prayer book.
Pray this prayer for 9 consecutive days leading up to the feast of
Saint Joseph on March 19th(start today- 3/10). Please join us by
making your intention a peaceful death for our brother and for all of
his family to accept God's will and His perfect plan.

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt
before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires.
O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain
for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus
Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly
power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of
Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus
asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your
heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him
to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of
departing souls, pray for us. Amen.

These hands

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


When people ask me, “How’s your brother doing,” I never know quite what to say.  “He’s dying,” seems to make most uncomfortable.
I have had some people say, “Wasn’t he close to dying a while ago?”  I know they mean well, but again, I am not sure what to say.  I feel like they are waiting for an apology of some kind for his still being alive.  One look at Fr. Joe and you can only wonder how much more his poor body can take, and how HAS he survived the slow decay of his body?
I started thinking about Fr. Joe through various events of his life.  When he was younger, he was extremely curious.  Hiis curiosity would often times get him into trouble.  He would get in trouble for taking an alarm from one of the many BigWheels in our garage and strategically set it up in his high school locker. I am not quite sure how he rigged it, but one day, the alarm just went off at a random time, and no one could shut it down until that Joe Peek was found.  On another occasion, unbeknownst to Mom or Dad as well as the rest of us, he decided to see if he could bike from our home in Decatur all the way to the airport and back.  Oh, by the way, it was around midnight when he successfully attained what he set out to do.  
When he would get punished, he never seemed phased by whatever punishment was doled out to him.  Not that he was being defiant or disrespectful.  Joe has never had a malicious bone in his body.  It’s just that he never allowed his spirit to be broken.
I also remember when he was with the Navy Air and Sea Rescue unit.  He was sent to a mock POW camp where the powers that be try to break you - in order that you be prepared for the future possibility of being taken by an enemy camp.  When he would tell us some of the ways they would try to break his spirit, he would have a sense of pride that no matter what they did, they could never break him.  His spirit was indeed unbreakable.  
I also remember a year ago, when I looked at Fr. Joe and wondered how it could get any worse.  And yet, with each passing week, the condition of his body worsened and continues to worsen.  When I look at him today in amazement of what his body has gone through, I think about his spirit.  
I think he must be approaching this like he has approached every other hardship in his life - with an indefatigable spirit.  His spirit is definitely willing as his flesh continues to weaken and disappear.
Fr. Joe has often been compared to Christ, not just because as a priest, he represents Christ, but also because of the many wounds covering his body.  The wounds on his feet, the wounds on his arms, the wounds on his back, the wounds on his side, and the horrible wounds on his head and face.  But this week, I saw two other ways Fr. Joe resembles Christ.
After Christ was beaten up by the soldiers, mocked and spit upon, scourged, and then crowned with thorns, I would wonder during my mediations, how did His body endure all of that and then go out and carry the cross.  Any other person in Christ’s situation would have died way before the carrying of the cross.  And yet, Christ had to fulfill His mission - to die on the cross to save souls.  Christ’s spirit was unbreakable because like Fr. Joe, He had not yet completed his mission.
There was another aspect to the suffering Christ endured during His Passion and that was humiliation.  When He reached Calvary, Christ was stripped of His clothing - a painful experience both in the reopening of His wounds as well as in the humiliation of being bare before all.  
A week ago, Fr. Joe had wound care, something he used to have three times a week and now is barely able to do once a week.  He puts on a swim suit and then gets into a tub to debreed his wounds so that new dressings can be applied.  This is not only an extremely painful process for him, but it is also an exhausting one.  This past week he was so wiped out by the whole deal that a few times, he had to take oxygen from a machine to get him semi-through the process.  I say, “semi-through,” because after the wound care, he was physically unable to get out of his swim suit.  He was physically unable to put on his UnderArmour which he wears to hold the bandages on his back in place.  An UnderArmour was cut up the front to form a vest so that he could slip his arms in and pin the front.  However, he has lost so much weight from being unable to eat for over two months now that a week later, the UnderArmour was no longer holding the bandages in place.  A week later, he was still in his swim suit.
Watching him struggle to sit up, stand up, and hobble to the bathroom while only in a swim suit and a barely-hanging on UnderArmour would break the heart of even the toughest soul.  I know this must embarrass him at some level, but he takes this humiliation like Christ did - in silence.  Looking at Christ on the cross with little more than what looks like a swim suit and looking at Fr. Joe, one can see many resemblances.  
Louis Zamerini, star of the movie Unbroken, once said, “Where there’s still life, there’s still hope.”
Fr. Joe perseveres because of his hope in Christ - whatever God’s will may be.  As Fr. Joe nears his own Calvary, his tireless spirit, his unflagging spirit, remains unbroken.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Big sister's update

His wit, his humor, his words of wisdom are still there.
His body, however, is disintegrating.
His days are spent sleeping on and off on the couch with EWTN or FoxNews on in the background.
His nights are more restless, getting up every hour, sometimes every half hour.
He can no longer eat, so he drinks milk, chocolate milk, gatorade, root beer, or tea.
His liquid intake seems to be decreasing.
His arms can no longer straighten to reach to coffee table, so after drinking, he needs help putting the bottle on the table or back in the small refrigerator in his room.
He also more and more needs help sitting up - a strong hand to help him maneuver his body weight to a seated position.
However, he can still walk himself to the bathroom, although a bit unsteady.
Sometimes, after using the bathroom, he will walk himself to the small refrigerator to grab a drink and then return to the couch.  Small victories of independence.
He has a hospital bed in his bedroom, but he prefers the couch.  
Upon returning to the couch, he needs help being tucked back in - a small pillow strategically placed under his head, another pillow placed between his bony legs, and two, sometimes three blankets to keep him warm.  He cannot tuck himself in, so this is one of the great pleasures in assisting him - tucking him, oh so carefully, so as not to pull the blanket across any of his numerous wounds, but tucking him in as a mother does for her beloved son, in this case, our beloved brother.
His thrice-weekly wound care has dwindled to once a week.  The amount of energy and the amount of suffering wound care demands takes a big toll on him.  His wounds remind me of leprosy.  He is all skin and bones, but his skin is unlike anything I have ever seen.  The wounds are slowly eating away at his skin.  The bath before wound care cleanses the dead skin and the dried blood away, but afterwards, the wounds seem to glare even more.  After wound care, he faces another struggle - that of getting his under armour, which holds all of the bandages in place, back over his wounded head and shoulders and on to his body.
In a day when one quickly reaches for something to ease the headache or the stomach cramps, my brother who truly suffers more than anyone I know has not reached for his pain medication in over four weeks.  I asked if he is sacrificing and he says no.  He doesn’t like how the medication dulls his senses.  

Thankfully, he is still able to receive the Eucharist thanks to our brother Fr. Kevin.
He is still able to go to Confession thanks to Fr. Jason Brooks.
And better still, he is still watched over by Our Lord and Savior in the tabernacle set up in the closet in his bedroom.
One of my favorite saints is Padre Pio.  I have heard some of Fr. Joseph’s other wonderful caretakers call him, “Padre.”  One told me just the other day that she calls him, “Padre Peeko.”  I chuckle.  Fr. Joe dislikes being called a saint or even compared to one.  

And yet I wonder, would God be so gracious to allow me to grow up with a saint?   And then I look around at my other siblings, and I see saints in each one of them.  After every Communion, I thank God for allowing me to be born into such a wonderful family.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

St Joseph prayers for the dying

Please join wherever you are in the world and  pray for Father Joseph over the next few weeks as he continues toward his new life. Also if it's not too much to ask that my mother father and all of us siblings are able to be present during his final hours so we can assist him  and send him forth to eternity.
Click  on the  words below

St Joseph Prayers for the dying
Litany for the Dying

Saturday, February 13, 2016

14 Year Anniversary of Leukemia Diagnosis Valentines 2002

I am not the writer in the family. For the past few weeks I've been tossing in my head what to put in the blog. I envision me writing some eloquent words in a brief and succinct way but realized that would take forever, so here I write. Father Joseph lives everyday giving his body to the Lord. he suffers more than the rest of us. I look at him especially during this Lenten season and see how he silently suffers offering all to God. He has a squamous cell lesion on his head that has eaten the skin away .  His bottom lip is barely there. He is very thin. However his mind is as sharp as a tack still teaching about our faith and helping his nieces with song critique. He receives Our Lord everyday and is grateful.  He is very appreciative  of all the prayers and sacrifices everyone has made on his behalf. Please keep praying for a peaceful death. He has said in the past, cancer can take my body but it can't take my soul. As long as I have Him and the sacraments my soul carries on. As I woke this morning
I remembered him saying that to me months ago as we were watching TV and one of those cancer ads came on.  As I ponder this I ask myself and all of you, what "cancer" is in our souls?  Is it vanity, impatience, lust,laziness, gluttony..? Thankfully our cancers are not terminal unless we choose,but with our turning to God who is the way the truth and the light  and the beauty of the sacraments our souls can return to a great state of health. We can then go out and help others remove the terminal status on their "cancer". As Fr Joseph quotes the Magnificat in his blessing, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord," let us too join him and proclaim God's greatness to the world  starting right in your home.
If you have any prayer requests please place in comment area or mail him a letter to the following address: All Saints Catholic Church 2443 Mount Vernon Road,  Dunwoody  GA  30338 

Jesus I trust in You

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A comforting excerpt from interior freedom

Being free also means consenting to what we did not choose
The exercise of freedom as a choice among options, plainly is important.  However, to avoid making painful mistakes we also need to understand that there is another way of exercising freedom:  less immediately exciting, poorer, humbler, but more more common, and one immensely fruitful, both humanly and spiritually.  It is consenting to what we did not originally choose.
It is worth stressing how important this way of exercising our freedom is.  The highest and most fruitful form of human freedom is found in accepting, even more than dominating.  We show the greatness of our freedom when we transform reality, but still more when we accept it trustingly as it is given to us day after day.
It is natural and easy to go along with pleasant situations that arise without our choosing them.  It becomes a problem, obviously, when things are unpleasant, go agains us, or make us suffer.  But it is precisely then that, in order to become truly free, we are often called to choose to accept what we did not want, and even what we would not have wanted at any price.  There is a paradoxical law of human life here:  one cannot become truly free unless one accepts not always being free!
To achieve true interior freedom we must train ourselves to accept, peacefully and willingly, plenty of things that seem to contradict our freedom.  This means consenting to our personal limitations, our weaknesses, our powerlessness, this or that situation that life imposes on us, and so on.  We find it difficult to do this, because we feel a natural revulsion for situations we cannot control.  But the fact is that the situations that really make us grow are precisely those we don not control*.

*"Man's greatest illusion is to want to have mastery over his life....But life is a gift that by its very nature escapes every attempt to master it."  -Jean Claude Sagne, Viens vers le Père: L'Enfance spiritually, chemin de guérison 

This excerpt from Interior Freedom by Jaques Phillipe has comforted me so much regarding my brother's suffering.  Indeed, I have re-read it many times over the last few weeks.  He has achieved "the highest and most fruitful form of human freedom".   My suffering at watching him suffer(albeit through text and photo across the country) has been alleviated a bit by putting it into this context.  He is an example to me.  By watching him accept his limitations, weaknesses, and powerlessness so freely, I am urged to accept my own powerlessness, especially (but not only) within this very situation.  

Monday, January 11, 2016


These were taken one year ago.  He continues to touch lives even though he can barely have enough energy to leave his room.  He was asked to share a reflective word and he mustered up, "Sit with Jesus".  How can you sit with Jesus today?  With Him in adoration?  With Him in the elderly?  With Him in the chronically ill?  With Him in those in prison?  With Him on the streets and soup kitchens?  With Him in your coworkers?  With Him in the new mother with the crying baby at church?  With Him with the newly widowed crying at church?  In Him with your children enjoying their laughs and joys? With Him in the waiter or waitress serving you?  With Him in the grocery store?  With Him with the dad caring for his disabled son?  With Him in your spouse?  With Him in the single pregnant mother?  With Him in the  adolescent unsure of the future?     "Sit with Jesus"                  

Saint Peregrine Novena begins today

Let us pray.
Dear holy servant of God, St. Peregrine, we pray today for healing.

Intercede for us! God healed you of cancer and others were healed by your prayers. Please pray for the physical healing of…

Father Joseph Peek.

These intentions bring us to our knees seeking your intercession for healing.

We are humbled by our physical limitations and ailments. We are so weak and so powerless. We are completely dependent upon God. And so, we ask that you pray for us…

Pray for us, that we will not let sickness bring us to despair

We know, St. Peregrine, that you are a powerful intercessor because your life was completely given to God. We know that in as much as you pray for our healing, you are praying even more for our salvation.

A life of holiness like yours is more important that a life free of suffering and disease. Pray for our healing, but pray even more that we might come as close to Our Lord as you are.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end.



Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year

It has been a year since the oncologist told Father Joseph there was nothing else they could do.  It has been an interesting year.  A year of growing in faith and traveling a journey dependent on God's mercy.  We were able to have many of his nieces and nephews to sing him Christmas carols on Christmas and some of the siblings were able to then talk and pray with him.  He is doing wound changes every 3 days or so and these are getting a little more taxing.  With chronic illness, one suffers from anemia and that with the combination of a little compromise in his lungs makes these changes seem like running a 5K.  He now has oxygen to help if he should need it.  He is pretty much eating eggs and oatmeal and drinking his milk, tea, or root beer. People ask how much longer.  In all honesty it could be any day or it could be a few months.  The squamous cell lesions have grown quite impressively since June.  We are unsure if there is a lesion in the esophagus but this could account for him not wanting or tolerating big solids. He has some wheezing in his lungs so we question if there are squamous cell carcinoma areas in there.  His left side of his face has become swollen from the lip lesion past the cheek lesion up to his ear.  It has also caused some redness in the left eye.
Thank you all for your continued prayer.  One thing that has been hard for the past several year is the fact that we can not hug him due to his wounds and the pain it causes.   So we get by giving fist pumps and kissing his forehead.  Please don't pass the opportunity to hug your children, spouse, or those who need it.  Pray for those with cancer and especially Fr Dan Morales in Texas who is undergoing treatment for cancer that has an unknown course over this next year.  Have a great year in 2016 one truly filled with God's Mercy.  
John 16:33