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RABBI HELMAN Hundreds honor Rabbi Leonard A. Helman at Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi

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Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013 7:00 pm | Updated: 11:59 am, Tue Jun 11, 2013.

Bells tolled and light streamed in through stained glass windows as Rabbi Leonard A. Helman’s friends, congregants, bridge partners and relatives packed the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi nearly to capacity Monday for his funeral service.

The Rev. Monsignor Jerome Martinez y Alire, the cathedral basilica’s former rector, began by saying that Helman, whom he described as “a character in his own right,” would join other Santa Fe characters who have been remembered there.

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1 comment:

  • William E Sanchez posted at 9:09 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    Atlixco1699 Posts: 4

    My first recollections of Rabbi Helman were seeing him at the Christmas Eve masses at Saint Francis of Assisi Cathedral; in those days he was tall and always elegantly dressed, ready and willing to tap dance up and down the festively decorated church
    aisles. Attending the Christian Brothers' College of Santa Fe, I was blessed to have Rabbi Helman teach me Torah and other Books of Scripture. In one class, Rabbi Helman was explaining the love relationship between David and Jonathan and told the class that it was an example of C.S. Lewis definition of 'Agape Love.' Rabbi asked the class if anyone of us knew what 'Agape Love' was; recalling my Youth Group Agape Meals, I was the only student who raised their hand to Rabbi's question. Pointing to me with the eraser in his hand, I blurted out, "Christian Love!"
    I was suddenly bathed in a soft yellow smoke of chalk as Rabbi let go of the eraser in his hand and it bounced on the desk top in front of me. Rabbi's dark rimmed glasses slid down his nose as his thick eyebrows arched in a very visible 'what!?'
    Several years ago, at the grand celebration anointing the Cathedral of Saint Francis of Assisi Basilica, I met up with Rabbi Helman slowly making his way up the steep front steps from the sidewalk, he was slightly stooped and leaned heavily on a walker. I greeted Rabbi and helped him up the stairs, and then ran ahead to the front of the long line of people waiting to enter the Cathedral. Wearing my priestly collar, I thought I might be able to 'influence' the attendants at the Cathedral doors to allow Rabbi Helman to come up to the front of the line, and as I approached the front doors, the attendants abandoned their posts, ran past me shouting "Rabbi Helman!" kissing and hugging the smiling Rabbi they seemingly carried him into the soon to be dedicated new Basilica Cathedral like the Jewish Pope of Santa Fe he was. Baruch HaShem. Mil gracias, Raboni, vaya con HaShem.
    -Father Bill Sanchez. Los Ranchos de Atrisco, NM

     
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