Homily for Ashley Guindon

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The following homily was delivered by Father Gerry Creedon at the memorial service for Prince William County Police Officer Ashley Guindon held March 1 at Hylton Chapel in Woodbridge. Guindon was killed in the line of duty Feb. 27. Father Creedon is pastor of Holy Family Church in Dale City and chair of the Diocesan Peace and Justice Commission.

Our hearts and our prayers go out to Ashley's mother, Sharon, her grandmother, Dorothy, aunts, uncles and extended family, friends and comrades.

Ashley Marie Guindon; born in Merrimack N.H., killed Feb. 27 in the line of duty, sworn in as a PWC Police officer on Feb. 26, she had been an intern with the Special Victims Unit. She achieved a B.A. in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle at Daytona Beach; Ashley flew a helicopter with the Marine Corps, loved creation, the air, dogs, birds, and liked to dance, read and travel. Ashley shared a love of fashion with her many friends. She believed in community outreach; soup kitchens, suicide prevention, even assisted with the Mortuary for the Marines.

Her untimely and tragic death shocked her family and the larger community. The loss we feel in death is compounded when it is the result of senseless violence. We reach out for some meaning in this chapel. When our words fail we seek the Word.

We join her journey to the Lenten journey when believers seek the desert, the wilderness, the place of the wild beast to struggle with God and God's purposes. Praying and fasting, we hunger and thirst for a grain of hope. The baptismal water of the Easter Vigil will bring some comfort. A light beckons us forward despite the blood of crucifixion. In 1998, when she received her name, Ashley was given the promise of Easter. With her we long for a life beyond life.

Ashley would want her grief to extend beyond herself to all the victims of violence over the past week, in Kansas, in Michigan and right here in Woodbridge. She would have us pray for her injured comrades. She would bid a prayer for the Henderson family too, victim and offender.

Would that her unconscionable dismissal from this life, cutting down her hope and her ambition for the good of Prince William, would that her death might signal an end to violence. Would that it might silence the sound of gunfire in our neighborhoods and in our nation.

Would that her passing should subordinate all our sacrosanct rights to the right to life itself. Would that vengeance everywhere might give way to forgiveness.

She sought a life of peace maker. Blessed are the peace makers. May we find a path of policing for security, for restored trust in our communities and for reasonable measures of safety in all our behaviors and purchases.

She sought to resolve a conflict. In her name let us all study the ways and methods of conflict resolution. She was a police woman and a peace officer. May we all learn in her name to wage peace.

I pray with the canticle of Zachary;

You, My child shall be called

The prophet of the Most High,

For you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,

To give his people knowledge of salvation

By the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our Lord

The dawn from on high shall break upon us,

to shine on those who dwell in darkness

And the shadow of death,

And to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Ashley learned courage at her mother's knee. Why do I know this? When I met Sharon Guindon yesterday at Mountcastle, I encountered a woman who did not grieve her heart-ache, though grieve she must. I found a mother taking care of all the details of bereavement and hospitality. Sharon was looking not to her own hurt, but to the dignity and the joy that is Ashley. She was looking out for us, for all who would gather in her daughter's honor. When another would be struck down by her many losses, she was still standing. Let us all stand with a small measure of that faith and courage.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016