Rev. Barry Cabell, C.S.C., 66, died Monday (June 16, 2014) at Brother Andre House, Austin, Texas.
He was born on Aug. 1, 1947, in Long Beach, Calif., to Edward and Ruth (Miller) Cabell. He graduated from St. Anthony Boy’s High School in Long Beach and attended the University of Louisville (Ky.) from 1965-1966. Fr. Cabell was received into the South West Province of Holy Cross Brothers on Jan. 25, 1967. He made his first profession of vows on Jan. 26, 1968; and made his final profession on Jan. 26, 1973, in Hayward, Calif. He received his bachelor’s degree from St. Edward’s University, Austin, on Dec. 20, 1969. As a Holy Cross brother, Fr. Cabell taught at St. Anthony’s High School, Long Beach, in the spring of 1970 and then moved to Moreau High School, Hayward, in the fall and served there until 1974. He received his master’s degree from California State University Hayward in 1974. He was a school psychologist at St. Anthony’s High School from 1975-1976, where he served as principal from 1976-1977. He studied at Penn State University, State College, Pa., from 1978-80. He returned to St. Anthony’s in 1981 and served in private practice in San Antonio from 1983-1987.
Fr. Cabell transferred to the Southern Province of Holy Cross in 1987, where he began priestly formation. He was ordained to the priesthood on March 14, 1989, in San Antonio. Fr. Cabell studied Spanish at the Instituto de Idiomas, Cochabamba, Bolivia, from 1989 to 1990. He served as assistant pastor of Parroquia de Santo Tomas Moro, Guadalupe, Mexico, in 1990. From 1990-1991, Fr. Cabell was associate pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish in Austin, where he served as pastor from 1991-1999. From 1999-2001, Fr. Cabell was pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. In 2001 and 2002, he assisted at the Provincial House in Austin. From 2002-2004, he served as pastor of Holy Family Parish, Copperas Cove, Texas. From 2004-2011, Fr. Cabell was pastor of St. Paul’s Parish in Austin. In 2011, he moved to Brother Andre House in Austin. He was minister to priests in the Diocese of Austin from 2012-2014.
Fr. Cabell’s parents are deceased.
The Wake service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday (June 22, 2014) at St. Ignatius Martyr Church, where the Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday (June 23, 2014). Burial will be in Assumption Cemetery, Austin. A reception will follow at St. Ignatius Martyr School.
Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at donate.holycrossusa.org.
Funeral Homily by Rev. Rick Wilkinson, C.S.C.
June 23, 2014
As heard last evening, many felt Fr. Barry’s was a calming presence, but I must admit, my first interaction with him was not very calming. I had just arrived to Campus Ministry at St. Edward’s University. I hadn’t even unpacked when I got a call from Fr. Barry. He wanted to see me a soon as possible. St. Ed’s is not a parish, but is administered by St. Ignatius; all the sacramental paperwork goes through here. Unbeknownst to me, for many years, priests were baptizing, marrying and burying without keeping reports, so of course there were sacramental records for a lot of people. Imagine wanting to get married and there is no baptismal record! The parish was stuck with trying to fill in all the gaps. Fr. Barry was not happy. I innocently arrived to be read the riot act, stating that this was never to happen again. Never, ever. Things went uphill from there. He was right to be angry.
Fr. Barry’s priestly ministry reflected his faith in the Good News. His faith and his ministry announced God’s compassion like the prophetic voice of Hosea who portrays the weak spot of God as he relates to the unfaithful and wayward Israel, who here is seen as a wayward child. Israel had tried the Lord with its infidelity repeatedly. God’s anger was fierce. But ultimately God’s compassion is aroused because God is God and not a man. Merciful love trumps justice. Paul proclaims to the Romans that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God’s love for us is absolute.
Christ died for the sinner in us all. Fr. Barry sought by his life to open those doors of faith into the merciful love of God. We are, after all, created by and for God. We are children of God. There is no other reason why God would have created us.
St. Paul reminds us that even when we are powerless (and that is a general feeling with death), Jesus entered into our humanity to promise us the hope of eternal life. Jesus reaffirmed God’s hope in us.Jesus is God’s expression of how God wants us to be with Him, to be one with us. Remember Jesus’ prayer: “I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
If we grow into union with Christ, we shall also be united to him in the Resurrection. That was the deepest desire of Fr. Barry; hopefully it is ours.
Whenever someone dies, it invites us to look into the mystery of death. We are timid with death, especially our own. We fear our own mortality as we age and we wonder what awaits us on the other side. This past week I helped celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation for 400 high school students that were part of the Vision program at the University of Notre Dame. One young man, as he got up after confession, quickly sat back down and asked, “Father, is it a sin to doubt?” I said “No,” thinking that would be the end of it. He paused and then asked, “How do we know there is a Heaven?” I paused and then said, “I do not know.” I gave a pretty good explanation, but basically it came around to “I believe but I do not know.” I wished I would have been profound, but at least I was honest.
Pope Francis answered his question with much more wisdom: “If one has the answer to all the questions that is proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the People of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. We must leave room for the Lord, not our certainties; we must be humble.”
Life is full of uncertainties. “What we do know is this: It was God’s will that brought us into being,” writes John Garvey; so “it follows that any being after death will likewise have to be willed by God.” Remember Jesus in the garden with his knees sunken in the ground surrendered, “Not my will but yours.” Resurrection means “that just as there was no life before conception, there can be no life after death that is not given by God’s willing it so. We cannot know what kind of life after death will be like. Otherwise would be to insult God, the giver of life.”
In a culture that stresses individualism, it is difficult to convince people that we exist only in relationship to one another. We recently celebrated Trinity Sunday: the mystery of three persons in One God, each person exists on its own but only in relationship to one another. As a Holy Cross religious, Fr. Barry lived in relationship to others. As we heard last night, he was much beloved. You don’t become beloved by selfishness or alienated. His priesthood was one of loving relationship with God and the ones he served in God’s name. Eucharist is about relationship with God and the community of faith. It is here God meets us in our hope and fragility, in our grief and our doubts. It is here where the wayward child Israel and sinners are transformed by the absolute love of God.
We Catholics do death pretty well. We commend our loved ones into the hands of God, and we trust, we hope and we believe that having died with Christ we shall also live with Him. That’s a big leap of faith for all of us. It is the faith that grounded our brother Barry Cabell’s religious life and priesthood. It is a faith grounded in God’s unimaginable love. Fr. Barry gave his life to proclaiming this love, believing as Jesus said: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love another.”
Fr. Barry, thank you for teaching to us be a bit more loving, a bit more Christ like.