By Msgr. Tom Miller, Special to The Catholic Virginian
On March 18, 2017 Catherine Rita Morhard (affectionately known to many as Kay) passed into eternal life at the age of 97.
She would not be ashamed to admit her age although it meant that many who knew her had already preceded her in death.
But there are some of us who have cherished memories of Kay and her many years of service in both of our Virginia Dioceses: Richmond and Arlington.
I had the privilege of first meeting Kay and her husband Bill when I was a transitional Deacon at St. Ann Parish in Arlington nearly 50 years ago. As a couple they were actively engaged in lay leadership in those heady days shortly after Vatican II, helping to establish a Parish Council in collaboration with their Pastor, Fr. Charles Ferry, and his Associate, Fr. Michael Breslin.
But Kay and Bill had already gained experience in lay leadership through their years of involvement with CFM, the Christian Family Movement, at both the local and national levels.
They were personal friends of Pat and Patty Crowley who helped to found this Catholic movement which sought to strengthen marriages and families.
With time, Kay and Bill made their home at a riverside location which literally straddled the boundary between the Richmond and Arlington Dioceses.
For many years Kay served as Executive Director of the Richmond Diocesan Pastoral Council at the request of the Bishop.
In 1976 the Richmond Diocesan Council of Priests agreed to affiliate with a national program of priestly renewal spearheaded by Fr. Vincent Dwyer, OCSO. This program fostered the formation of priest support groups, a few of which are still in existence.
Each group was to have the services of a facilitator to aid in their formation and Kay served in that capacity for several groups. She literally became a mentor to many of us who have served as priests in the Diocese.
Over the years Kay lost a son and also her beloved Bill beside whom she will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on June 21 after Mass of Christian Burial at St. James in Falls Church at 1 p.m.
She also lost much of her short-term memory capacity but could still be engaged in present activities as well as lively conversations about shared past events.
Her son Jim watched over her lovingly and made sure that she received the best of care in various facilities in Northern Virginia.
What she never lost was her grace, her wit and her abiding faith in the Risen Lord which made her such an inspiration to so many of us who knew her. May she rest in peace.