Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
Kansas City's Jesuit Parish
1001 East 52nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday, Aug. 30th 2018

Bob Magaha Day – August 28, 2018

We sent Bob Magaha home on Tuesday.  The long-time SFX parishioner (30+ years) died last week and was buried from St. Francis Xavier on August 28.  Thirty years ago to the day (August 28, 1988) was declared “Bob Magaha Day” in Kansas City by then-Mayor Richard Berkley, honoring Bob for all his work for the Westport and Valentine neighborhood.

The resolution designating “Bob Magaha Day” cited Bob’s efforts to make the Westport and Valentine neighborhood a more “livable community.” Bob served as president of the neighborhood association, established the annual neighborhood garage sale and garden tours, braved the cold and snow to light luminaries along Valentine Road on Christmas Eve, volunteered with the crime patrol, and many, many other things.  The resolution specifically mentioned Bob’s “reasoned voice when tough decisions needed to be made for the good of the neighborhood.”

Here at SFX Bob was a greeter and head usher for decades who made things go smoothly at our 10:30 Mass.  He made it a ministry after his retirement to attend every funeral to welcome folks, hand out worship aids, direct people to the drinking fountain and the bathrooms.  His quiet presence, tall good looks, distinguished silver hair and gentle smile just helped everyone feel more “at home.”

Bob was an incredible cook and prepared our annual Seder meal for years and years.  You have never tasted better lamb. He also made the veggie soup for our Hunger Banquet the first Wednesday of Lent – a meatless meal that was no sacrifice to eat.

He took care of our “art and environment” for years – designing amazing floral displays for Christmas and Easter and Sundays in-between.  I was particularly fond of the way he would adorn our tall six-foot candle stands with greenery and flowers and place them at the pew ends.  He also took care to create sweet little nosegays for our First Communion procession.

Bob was a “pillar of the church.”  He was one of the many, many wonderful men and women (and our amazing teens and children, too) who make St. Francis Xavier a place where heaven and earth meet. 

It is a bitter time to be Catholic.  The horror and shame of clergy sexual abuse and the systematic and criminal cover-up by bishops (and popes?) and the confusion about “what-do-we-do-now?” is disheartening. 

But on Tuesday I was not disheartened.  I was grateful. I was grateful for our local church community so full of love.  I was grateful for the Scriptures and the songs, the holy water and the incense, the bread and the wine, and all the rituals and traditions. I was grateful for Bob’s life of love and service.

We are the church.

At the funeral Mass one of the Prayers of the Faithful was:
Bob loved a party
filled with food and drink
and knew how to bring people together.
Help us to help those
who are not so blessed with food and friends.

As we struggle with “how-do-we-move-forward as a church-in-the-midst-of-crisis?”, let us remember all that is true and good and beautiful in the world and in the church.  And let us continue to work hard to make sure everyone is safe and has food and friends.

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Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church
1001 East 52nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64110
Office Hours: Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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