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Web Editor's Note and Dedication

I dedicate the effort of putting The Great Mysteries on the Web to the Greeley List and the memory of a man I have never met, James Vincent Pacilli, whose brother Fred subscribes to an e-mail discussion forum on the work of Andrew Greeley I started in 1996. Without the Greeley List (greeley@vm.temple.edu) I might never have thought of this project. Last fall another subscriber, a priest who teaches at Loyola University at New Orleans, asked for my help because the book, which he uses in one of his courses, had gone out of print.  That's when the possibility of a Web edition first occurred to me, and I proceeded to obtain permission to do so.  I posted Chapter 10, "The Mystery of Mary the Mother of Jesus" (a celebration of the revelatory powers of sexual love and the vision of God as both mother and father) in honor of Valentine's Day on February 14, and intended gradually to add a chapter at a time over the next year. 

The evening of May 2, I read a message from Fred Pacilli who had been temporarily absent from the list. This is part of Fred's message:

    I left Chicago at 3 AM last April 24th.  Arrived at Jimmy's hospital bed at 12:30 PM.  I didn't recognize him at first.  He was so thin.  He didn't recognize me.  Four strokes.  His wife, Maria, who has been by his side for 10 weeks through all of this showed up later. We hugged.  Tears.

    We talked.  We joked.  We went for coffee or a walk.  I stroked his hair and comforted him.  Promised to be back the next day.  He smiled.   6 hours later I went to my cousins' where I slept.  Jimmy died 7 AM the next morning.

    You know those little brochures they have at wakes with the deceased's picture, statistics and a few words?  This one had a picture of Jimmy in his early twenties in a tux.  Nice tux. 

    Jimmy was born September 10th, 1916 in Toronto.  Died April 25th, 1998 in Brampton, Ontario.

    As always, please, no replies.  It's enough that you read this.

    Uncle Fred.

I found myself in tears. In its simplicity, this message captured the ambiguity of the human situation. I wanted to do something to mark the life and death of Jimmy whom I did not know but who was my brother. I wanted to do something to be with Fred and all who mourn the loss of loved ones.  And I thought of The Great Mysteries, and how Father Greeley's words in the chapters I had not yet posted might give comfort to someone out there on the Web, someone who needed those words not next month or next year but today.  And so I got busy, stayed up most of that night, and some sixty hours later (I haven't done much else) the whole book is on the Web.
"For the follower of Jesus it is safe to assume that he and his followers sang psalms as they went up to Jerusalem. So we must join them on that final journey on which we are all embarked. We must go up to our own Jerusalem with fear and anguish but also with confidence and hope, with joy in our hearts and a song on our lips. There is no other way to live."  (From "The Mystery of Jesus of Nazareth")
Ingrid Shafer
5 May 1998


 Introduction to the New Edition 
 Introduction to the Original Edition 
I  The Mystery of God
II  The Mystery of Jesus of Nazareth
III  The Mystery of the Spirit
IV  The Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection
V  The Mystery of Salvation
VI  The Mystery of Grace
VII  The Mystery of the Holy Eucharist
VIII  The Mystery of the Church
IX  The Mystery of Baptism
X  The Mystery of Mary the Mother of Jesus
XI  The Mystery of Heaven
XII  The Mystery of the Return of Jesus
Guide for Discussion and Personal Meditation
This is the Table of Contents of the electronic edition of  the New Edition (1985) of Andrew M. Greeley's The Great Mysteries: An Essential Catechism (San Francisco Harper & Row, 1976, 1985), pp. iv-x.  Published with permission. 

This page will be updated whenever I become aware of errors. Please, send me any "scannos" or typos you find. 

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Posted 17 February 1998
Last revised 17 June 1998, 7:00pm CDT 
Electronic edition copyright © 1998 Ingrid Shafer 
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