I’ve been trying to figure out something to write in memory of our friend and fellow blogger, the Illustrious mareg (Marc Girard), who died in an accident on July 1st, 2008.
I met Marc at the Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Griswold CT, and we became friends after our familes began talking on First Saturdays and other special occasions at the Friary. We became friends, and was rather surprised at how he attended public school, and was actually a stronger Catholic than many of the homeschoolers I know. (Which essentially taught me that homeschooling doesn’t mean anything when it comes to certain areas.)
As I opened my blog, he was a frequent veiwer and commenter, and after a short while, I decided to offer him a position as a writer. Though he had some difficulties with spelling, he knew his faith well, and loved it; and that was all that mattered.
He used to discuss with me how he wrote ‘controversial’ papers in school, and sometimes was even told not to, but it didn’t stop him from living his faith. Marc even had the habit of carrying Miraculous Medals with him, which he would hand out to several students at his school on different occasions.
As a writer on this blog, Marc enjoyed commenting back and forth with the different visitors, ranging from issues of Catholic Appologetics, to attacking modern ‘art,’ to defending the basics of morality. We had great times discussing ways to confront certain commenters and such, as we both felt that we’d make a better impact on the viewer together.
He was inducted into the Knights of Lepanto, a men’s group devouted to promoting Marian Chivalry, during the Spring Encampment of 2008, with a special initiation ceremony conducted by Father Angelo Mary Geiger. In this ceremony, he swore to uphold the Church, swore allegiance to the Knights, and promised devotion to Our Lady.
Marc was a teenager who loved his Faith. He lived it out in the Public Square, and showed what he truly believed in his comments and posts here on the blog. He felt the calling to the religious life, and was to join the Order of the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate in August of 2008. He was an attempting Knight and Friar, and God gave him the chance to prove himself.
On the evening of June 31, 2008, Marc’s father, Thom Girard, decided to go swimming with his daughter Hannah (7) and younger son, Lucas (11), and wanted Marc to go along. So he gave in and set out for what seemed like an ordinary swim at the Pachaug State Forest. The small group decided to head out to a nearby island, but before doing so, Mr. Girard firmly reminded them to make sure they had their Brown Scapulars on. So they head out in two groups of two. Mr. Girard carrying Hannah (who couldn’t swim), and Marc and Lucas swimming together. Marc and Lucas made it ahead faster, and only feet before reaching the island heard their sister screaming behind them. The turned to see her kicking but didn’t see any sign of their father Thom. Marc sent Lucas on towards the Island, and head back to investigate what was happening. Upon arriving on the scene, Marc discovered his father underwater, holding onto Hannah. He freed Hannah from his father’s grip, and told her to pray. The last being seen of him, was his hand pushing Hannah off as he dove back under in an attempt to save his father. Both father and son didn’t make it. Thom Girard was pronounced dead on the scene, and Marc was flown to Providence Children’s Hospital, where he died in the early hours of July 1st.
Marc’s heroic act in his attempt to save his father’s life was one of the highest chivalrous nature. Being that of sacrificial love. Giving one’s life to save another. He showed forth his true colors in his last moments. Going from the timid, shy, fun Catholic Teenager to the Perfect Knight in a matter of seconds. Or rather yet, a Knight of Our Lady. He had every intention of joining the Franciscan Order, and was to do so in a month after his untimely death. He wore his Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal. Rendering Our Lady the highest devotion and love she deserved.
Marc was his father’s son in the highest sense. Thom Girard was given the title of Grand Marshal of the Knights of Lepanto Encampments. Meaning he was the man behind the event. He planned things accordingly, enforced the rules, and made sure everyone had a great time. He himself composed the the initiation which Marc underwent during the Spring of ’08, and hopefully, soon enough, I’ll be allowed to undergo the same initiation soon.
This being said, please keep the Girard family in your prayers. As they have lost both a Husband and a Son, a father and a brother. A most difficult trial to bear and endure. But God is always there for us, giving us the golden chance to prove ourselves to Him, as Marc did. Marc was an example to all of us. An example that it is possible for a young man to be a teenager and a devout Catholic, an example of what it means to love God and Our Lady to your fullest potentential. But most of all, an example in what we ourselves need to imitate. The Sacrificial Love of the true Knight of Our Lady.
~May the Souls of the Faithfully Departed, Through the Mercy of God, Rest in Peace~