Sunday, April 28, 2019

In Memory of Anne Buckley

Anne M. Buckley, the retired editor-in-chief of Catholic New York, died April 23, 2019.

I've mentioned Anne here before, reprinting a column she wrote about the courtship and wedding of Bob and Nancy Varettoni.

Anne's reporting of it was typically wonderful, and I've previously bemoaned that since much of her career was in the pre-web days, much of her work can't be found online.

So I'm happy to report that, in Anne's memory, CNY editor John Woods is now reprinting a number of her Editor's Report columns on its website. (The photo here, by the-one-and-only Chris Sheridan, is the familiar one printed for years alongside her CNY columns.)

Here's "Two Fathers, Two Sons" about Steven McDonald, the hero NYC detective who was shot in Central Park and paralyzed from the neck down. And here's "The Double Standard" about the hot-button issue of religion and politics. 

I won't... I can't... recount the many accomplishments of this trail-blazing Catholic journalist, writer and editor. But there are many details in the obituary in The Star-Ledger, which also includes a full reprint of her CNY obituary.

Here's a personal insight, though:

With Nancy due to be out of town with our daughter last night, I had been debating how I would spend my evening alone. A few days ago, before Anne's death, I told Nancy that I might attend a concert by Dan Schutte, a popular composer of liturgical music who was scheduled to appear at a parish in Roseland, NJ.

Reading up on Dan, I discovered that he's an ex-Jesuit -- and that my favorite song of his, "Here I Am, Lord," has been characterized by some as a rebellious anthem. Which only makes me like the song even more.

So it did not surprise me that at the funeral Mass for Anne Buckley yesterday in Caldwell, NJ, we all stood to sing "Here I Am, Lord" as her casket was carried into St. Aloysius Church.

After Mass, Nancy and I spoke to former colleagues -- most who continued at CNY for years after us -- about Anne's lasting impact. In a Facebook Messenger group chat, some of us even recalled colorful phrases she had used in her columns when we all worked together more than 30 years ago: "As clean as a convent parlor..." "Like eggs on a Teflon pan..." "Delft-saucer eyes..."

Here's a 30-second snippet from the 10-minute memorial video posted by Prout Funeral Home. It features photos of Anne, later in her career, surrounded by awards and CNY colleagues:

Finally, here's another personal story:

When I originally posted Anne's column to mark Bob and Nancy Varettoni's 30th wedding anniversary, Nancy was uneasy about it. She told me something that I never knew: that when she told Anne she was going to marry me, Anne expressed reservations.

She thought Nancy could have done better.

As always, Anne was right about that too.

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