This morning we attended a lovely (but warm!) service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral — a regular Priory chapel service but dedicated to the memory of Carl Crosier. The Cathedral Choir added to the beauty of the occasion by singing several anthems; the most poignant of which was Mozart’s Laudate dominum sung by Naomi Castro, choral teacher at the Priory. You may remember my telling you that I played the wedding for Naomi’s parents, and that Carl and Naomi shared the same birthday.
Sandra Theunick, the head of school, made the following remarks in a reflection about the man she called her “Prime Minister”:
Today our chapel service is being celebrated in loving memory of Carl Crosier who ended his earthly journey last Thursday. Many of you fondly remember Mr. Crosier as the man who taught you how to serve as acolytes in chapel processions. For our singing groups, he assisted Miss Castro in playing the piano for concerts. And for all of us, he was the heart of the business office for many years. So today we pray for him and we honor him.
We are fortunate to have some of his family and friends as well as Dean Walter and Mother Susan from the Cathedral. Some members of the Cathedral Choir in which Mr. Crosier sang on Sundays have also joined us. We welcome you all to our simple service – the same one that Carl attended with us every week that he was here.
In honor of Mr. Crosier I have two special requests. He was a deeply religious man who saw our service music as a form of prayer. Today you will hear some beautiful music, but because it is in the context of prayer, and because Mr. Crosier would want it that way, let’s not applaud as we sometimes do. Let us rather, sit and listen and remain quiet after it is shared. Secondly, sing with gusto. Mr. Crosier would want it that way. So sing with all your hearts and hold your applause and Mr. Crosier would be very pleased.
Now to prepare for our service, let us take our usual few seconds of silence to open our minds and hearts to God and to lift up to God our prayers for the Crosiers and for ourselves.
Day by day, dear Lord of thee three things I pray –
To see thee more clearly
Love Thee more dearly
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by day.
There is so much that we could say about Mr. Crosier – Carl, but this is school chapel. We need to keep it simple and relatively brief – as Carl would like it.
When I was considering what to share today, I kept recalling something that Carl said to me many times– I do three things well. Music, cooking and accounting and that’s it. He made no pretense to be good at anything else, and, frankly didn’t seem to be interested. In those three categories, however, if something was worth doing, it was worth doing perfectly. And any of us who sang in his choir, dined at his table or worked with him in the business office knew exactly what that meant.
I marveled at the discipline and focus that he brought to these three passions. He spent hours marking musical scores in preparation for a concert, “running numbers” in the business office or investigating the hottest new recipes. Talk about the consummate foodie. But also the consummate liturgical artist and keeper of the school’s finances. In those categories he really wanted it to be perfect.
And most of the time it was, because he went at his pursuit of perfection systematically, one step at a time. But he was good at so much more.
He was good at seeing the big picture. I called him my Prime Minister and would go to him first with any kind of thorny personnel issue, question or even personal concern. He might roll his eyes and not want to go there, but he always saw and acted on behalf of the greater good.
He was a team player in every way. He got the fact that school leadership is a team sport and he gave it his all. He would do anything for our students. He laughed and cried with the members of our leadership team and was all in. In the Cathedral Choir, he was all in. Even though incredibly gifted, he was even more humble.
He loved his family. He was really good at that. His family was obviously the center of his life. Kathy, and Stephen especially. Even though you weren’t music, accounting or cooking, you were obviously #1 for Carl. He was so proud of all of your accomplishments, and, frankly, bragged about you all the time.
Finally, Carl obviously was a man of deep faith. He was really good at that. He lived the Gospel every single day in the way that he treated people, in the values that he embodied and the causes he served. Like our gospel message about the beatitude people – God was at the center of Carl’s universe – not himself. He kept growing in his faith. Many of you know that he was received into the Roman Catholic Church several weeks ago – something that he had wanted most of his life. He kept growing spiritually day-by-day.
Carl passed on at St. Francis Hospice in Ewa Beach. I was a hospice volunteer chaplain a few years ago and I learned that in hospice – at least the one in which I worked, people didn’t die – they made their transition. I loved that image of transition. On to the next great thing. And personally, I believe that it true.
I like to think of Carl now as serving as the Master Chef for the heavenly banquet, rehearsing the Seraphim until they get it right, and already trying to inspire someone to make a large, transformational gift to The St. Andrew’s Schools. Actually, I talked with him about that the other day.
Our faith tells us that he is at peace and filled with joy, basking in the presence of God. He earned this by living his journey day by day, one moment at a time, simply, humbly, honestly and with great love. Thank you, Prime Minister, and our dear friend, keep inspiring us –day by day.
The Cathedral Choir will now sing “Day by Day”