Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Many of you have probably heard of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant last Sunday. There is a tremendous amount that surrounds his passing. It doesn’t matter if you were a fan of his or not, I think we can all agree that his untimely death is
something that can shake us a bit. If you’ll allow me, I’d like to unpack a bit of my own thoughts and feelings on the matter.
It is always a bit of an awkward thing for me when a big celebrity passes. Many people die each day, and yet we often do not think much of it. But when a celebrity goes, especially with little to no warning, it can dominate the news and is a major talking point for many. In some ways I wonder if we would care so much about a helicopter crash if not for the fact that someone famous died because of it. I wonder sometimes if we focus too much on celebrities in our culture.

Personally, I am saddened that the basketball world has lost one of its best players ever and one of the sharpest minds so early in life. Kobe Bryant was deeply driven and competitive, while also being quite thoughtful and reflective about himself and the game. I was looking forward to seeing what his post-playing career held in store and seeing him become an elder statesman similar to Julius Erving and Bill Russell. As someone who has played and watched basketball for most of my life, I’m going to miss the presence of Mr. Bryant.

It’s all so sudden. He had so much more to offer; to his family, to basketball, to the world. He was by no means a perfect man, and indeed, there are some darker incidents that cannot be glossed over. But everyone believed that he would have
had more time on Earth to accomplish goals in his career and be with his family.
If there is a lesson to be pulled from this seemingly senseless accident, I believe it is found in the hours before the crash.

Unfortunately, it probably won’t be reported much, if at all, in all the other coverage his death will receive. Kobe Bryant was Catholic and he did practice his faith. And so, one of the very last things he did in his life was attend Sunday Mass
with his family. Several witnesses recall seeing him at his local parish that morning.

In the Eucharist, we encounter our Lord and Savior. In the Eucharist, we find healing. My hope is that Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and the other victims of this accident have left this world and found eternal life with God.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.
May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan