Thursday, February 21, 2008

Uncle Sivvy...the greatest

J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R.*

MATTHEW 5:43-48

You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.


...a fitting Gospel for the day of my uncle's passing on to the afterlife on his 85th bithday, February 16, 2008.

After listening to the spirited homily of last night's Vespers, at St. Als I came to understand a little better, the stormy context of a life that was definitely worth living. In the end, his dying words were, a very soft Deo Gratias, but I bet his voice still echoes throughout the halls of Mountainside Hospital in Montclair like it did when I visited him there in mid-January. I'm sure that anyone who heard Uncle Sivvy preach, even once, will never forget that voice. I think Livolsi may even mean "the Voice," so Providence had a lot to do with it. They didn't call him "Radio City" for nothing.

A Sicilian who preached with an Irish brogue...go figure...what a Sign of Contradiction!

He must have told me a thousand times as a youth..."Master Mick! Speak like Cheyenne Bodie" Well Uncle Siv... to this day I still speak like Mickey Mouse, so please intercede for me from heaven on that one.

He loved me like a Father, and this I will never forget. I the self-reliant prodigal son, left Mother Church and wandered this crazy world looking for a a heart and a home, that I never found. Uncle Sivvy kept praying and blessing, praying and blessing. He never left us without imparting a blessing and I can only guess at how many Masses he must have offered on our behalf. I can still feel his hand on my head. It conveyed blessing!

I let him down so many times I don't want to begin to count. But he forgave me...and prayed me back home.

He loved to tell everyone and anyone some treasured stories about his nephews and nieces, we eight's one that involved me at age 3-4 in 1962-63.

Uncle Siv will say...I was driving slowly around town with my nephew Mickey and at the top of Westville Avenue we passed a stooped over, raggedly dressed and hatted old man. 'Mickey, do you know who that man is?' 'No, Uncle Siv.' Well that is your Great Grandfather (trilling the rrrrr's with his signature Irish brogue). I must have made a cute contorted face because my next words struck like a bell. "What's so great about him?"

Uncle Sivvy taught us a little ditty of a song which I guess came from his youth...

While driving back from the shore...a day at Bradley Beach (after playing hooky from school) we'd get our Carvel and sing...

Standing on a corner,
doing a little harm.
Along came a policeman
He took me by the arm.
He took me around the corner,
and rang a little bell.
The next thing I knew,
I was sitting in a cell.

Six o'clock in the morning,
I looked upon the wall,
The bedbugs and the cooties
Were having a game of ball.
The score was six to nothing
The bedbugs were ahead,
When Mickey got up and hit a foul ball,
And knocked me out of bed.

Somehow I felt I knew that Mickey. He was probably alot like the left-handed kid nicknamed Mickey who lined out into a game ending triple play at an All Star Game at Francisco Park in 1970.

Now, 38 years later, my kids are attracted to this song just like the five of us were in the Sixties. It was filled with a good way....Just like Uncle Sivvy's life.

What's so great about Uncle Sivvy?


Returning to the Gospel..."You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Yup....he's perfect now. Uncle Sivvy...pray for us!

P.S. Today is his funeral at St. Als in Caldwell, and burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in East Hanover, NJ.

Sincerely yours in Jesus and Mary,
Mike Rizzio, SOLT

Imitate Mary
Become like Jesus
Live for the Triune God

Seek the Light of Our Lord Jesus Christ
See you on the High Ground!

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and see what I have been compelled to work on since 2004.

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* - J.M.J. + O.B.T. + M.G.R. stands for: Jesus, Mary and Joseph;
O Beata Trinitas; St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael

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