On the morning of the 9th November (Remembrance Sunday) I was called to the Leyden family home to administer the Last Rites to Brendan. Shortly after reciting the prayers and coming away from the house Brendan passed away.
Celebrating these Sacraments and ministering to the dying is always an immense privilege for a priest, but particularly when it is someone you have known. The words used in granting the Apostolic Pardon are very powerful:
May the Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who gave to his apostle Peter the power of binding and loosing, in his loving mercy accept your confession and put about your shoulders again the robe of sonship which was given you at your baptism. And now in virtue of the faculty given to me by the Apostolic See, I grant you a plenary indulgence and the full remission of all your sins. In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen
Through the sacred mysteries of man's redemption may God almighty free you, both in this life and the next, from all the penalties he would have exacted from you for your sins. May he open the gates of paradise to you and lead you in, to enjoy ending happiness. Amen
Brendan was a great friend to many and I know that he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. He worked tirelessly in the hospitality industry and will be remembered for founding the Leyden Brewery at the Lord Raglan Pub in Nangreaves (where incidentally he was born).
Brendan had a very homely down to earth faith that sustained him throughout life and in particular in the last weeks of his life. Some of his friends, when they found out he went to church were a little surprised. When they asked him why he went, in that typical down to earth way he replied 'Well it's something that you do. It makes you feel better.'
Brendan was also a great family man. When he married his wife Helena at St Joseph's Church together they soon transformed what was previously Brendan's bachelor pad in Nangreaves into a fitting place for their children Joanna and Conor. The family home was always a place of welcome, warmth and love for anyone who happened to call in. Even in his last few weeks of illness Brendan always made sure that anyone who came to his home was made welcome.
We will miss you here below Brendan. Rest in Peace and pray for us that as St Thomas More said 'we may all meet again, merrily in heaven.'