It is indeed gratifying to read all of the heartfelt sentiments expressed in these guest book messages. Msgr. Bennett was my uncle (we all called him Uncle Father Tom) and he was a rare person.
I always looked forward to his visits with great anticipation, since he always called each of us, "old bean," as in, "How are you, old bean?" As kids, my brothers and sisters and I thought that was hilarious, and we basked in his praise and attention, as I am sure his students did.
Often, I asked him about Church teachings, and I am sure he was surprised and often frustrated to know I was more conservative than he was. He loved butter and sweets and my mom's cooking. On holidays, it was standard fare for my dad and him to drop off to sleep after dinner in side by side chairs. He was a gracious guest and a gracious man.
Part of his charm was that he was unflinching, and he reveled in being irascible, even when he truly wasn't.
He was thrilled when we named our daughter, Victoria, because he said she was his favorite queen. Who else would have a favorite queen?
Although our visits were infrequent in the last few years, we spoke on the telephone and it never seemed as if any time passed at all between our conversations. He was timeless and constant, and I loved him. I will miss him dearly.