A Central Coast television station, KSBY, has produced the following video about the recent funeral of the Hon. William P. Clark — former Cabinet secretary, California Supreme Court justice, and faithful friend of Thomas Aquinas College.
Several members of the College’s teaching and administrative faculty were among the 600 mourners at the funeral Mass, which was offered at Chapel Hill, Judge Clark’s personal chapel on his ranch in Paso Robles, Calif. The Most Rev. Richard Garcia, Bishop of Monterey, served as the principal celebrant. Rev. Roberto Vera — a Franciscan priest from the Diocese of Monterey who offers the two Sunday Masses at Chapel Hill, one in English, one in Spanish — delivered the homily. At least 15 other priests served as concelebrants, including Thomas Aquinas Chaplain Rev. Cornelius M. Buckley, S.J.; Rev. Joseph Fessio, S.J., of Ignatius Press; and Rev. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.
In his homily, Fr. Vera said that Judge Clark was a model for Catholics in public life — true always to the Faith, not just in private but also in public activities and policies. That sentiment seemed to resonate with the congregation, which reflected the fullness and diversity of Judge Clark’s life and friendships. Among those in attendance were ranch hands and government leaders, academics and religious, former colleagues and generations of family. The Mass was simple, as were the flowers, the music, and the casket — a pine box, doubtless at Judge Clark’s request. As pallbearers brought the casket from the chapel, mariachis played “Cucurrucucú Paloma,” a traditional Mexican folk song, in keeping with his deep affection for the Hispanic community of Central California.
“The sheer number of people present, from all walks of life, was a testament to the depth and breadth of love, respect, and admiration that exists for Judge Clark,” said Thomas Aquinas College President Michael F. McLean. “We were not merely paying our respects to a man who played an important role in the history of our state and nation. We were saying goodbye to a friend.”
Indeed, in the various eulogies that followed the Mass, little was said about Judge Clark’s achievements in public life. “Perhaps too little when one considers the pivotal role he played in crafting and setting in place the policies that would ultimately bring down the Soviet Union without a single shot being fired,” observed Director of College Relations Anne S. Forsyth. “On the other hand, I think it reflected the reality about Judge Clark. I was reminded of George Washington, the gentleman farmer who, only at the urging of his countrymen, was pressed into public life. Judge Clark, too, when called, served his country, and did so admirably. But he was at heart a ‘gentleman rancher’ who deeply loved God, his family, the land, and the members of the community in which he lived.”
The entire occasion, in its joy, beauty, and solemnity was representative of this gentleman rancher. “To be once more in the chapel that Judge Clark designed, in the community he called home, and surrounded by the many people who loved him, was an honor,” said Dr. McLean. “We join his many, many friends throughout the world in praying for his eternal rest.”
Posted: August 21, 2013
“I think about the entire world differently since I have come here. I have learned certain truths, whether in the natural sciences or philosophy, that I never would have imagined I could know.”
– Kathleen Murphy (’16)
“I am most grateful for Thomas Aquinas College’s resolute fidelity to the Church and her teachings. The young people whom you serve certainly are being formed to think with the Church and to defend the Faith with courage and charity.”
– The Most Rev. William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
Chair of the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty