Monsignor Craig Harrison

Monsignor Craig Harrison will be singing "Soul Man" at the Music Media Jam in June 2017 at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace

My wife, who battled cancer for two years, was at the end of her journey in the hospital. I explained to my children that God would cure their mother. It would either be here with us or there in heaven, where she would be in perfect peace. The doctors came in to explain there was nothing more they could do for Susie. Did I want her to pass at the hospital or at home?

Home, please.

Susie was there for the first breath of our children, Nikki, Brenna, Sean and Aaron. Surrounded by our children in our bedroom at home, they were there for their mother’s last.

If you have been to this emotional place before, you know no words can describe the anguish, pain, heartbreak and sense of total and complete loss. If you have not been to this place, no words will do.

It's been six years now since we lost Susie. When I think back to that catastrophic moment in my family’s life, it is the words of The Californian's Steven Mayer that I reflect on most. “Death is not your enemy. It is a friend coming to take you home,” he once wrote. Thank you, Steven. Your words have brought me more comfort than you will ever know.

As the Greenlawn Hearse was pulling out of the driveway of our home, taking Susie to prepare her for her final resting place, a car pulled in immediately after.

Like an angel from God, it was Father Craig Harrison.

All I remember is that our living room was full of grieving family and friends … and now Father Craig. I don’t remember exactly what Father Craig said to us, but in my darkest, saddest and most confusing hour, where I truly doubted God, he shifted my heartache back to God’s promise of eternal peace and everlasting love.

And I know he did the same for my children and family gathered in our living room that day.

An hour later, when he left, our emotional heaviness was cushioned by his ability to help thread us through our loss. His last words to me that day were, “It would be my honor to do Susie’s funeral service.”

There must be hundreds if not thousands of Father Craig stories like this in our community. I have waited too long to share this one with you. But now is the time to share.

Father Craig was there to pray with my family when we absolutely needed him.

Now my family is praying for him, just as he did in my living room six years ago. In his time of need, we will be there for him.


Their World Tour is scheduled to take them to major international cities like London, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Thanks to the Ravi and Naina Patel Foundation, the Gandhi Celebration Committee, Bakersfield College and the Medicine Shoppe, the Jai Jagat Show, a 90-minute dance drama musical, will come to Bakersfield College’s Indoor Theater on May 13.

I have been blessed to assist the Gandhi Celebration Committee with numerous activities throughout the year-long celebration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150 birthday anniversary. Through the performing arts, the Jai Jagat Journey and Show has 17 underprivileged children from the Gandhi Ashram in India, who through dance and song, perform and share stories and messages of Gandhi and other peace leaders. According to their website, “Their hope is to showcase a deeper intention to plant seeds of love and hope for a more beautiful future.”

According to producers of the show, “The 17 performing children went through an intense audition process that included an 18-month program where the children developed strong capacities in the various skills to execute a multi-faceted performing arts program.” The Jai Jagat children are ages 11-18 years old and represent marginalized children from underprivileged communities throughout the world.

This is a rare international performance and an opportunity for our community to see culture, music, dance and history portray peace, truth and nonviolence. Tickets are $15 and available at the door or at www.JaiJagatTour/Bakersfield.

Email contributing columnist Steve Flores at His work appears here every third Monday; the views expressed are his own.


(1) comment


I appreciate the desire to share such stories about people we respect and admire. However, we have to accept that "good people" sometimes do "bad things." I have no clue whether Monsignor Harrison is guilty, but this column comes across to me as though Mr. Flores cannot fathom that the same person that buoyed him up also may have inappropriately touched young men.

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