John and Charles Buraus, Leap Year Twins



I am reminded today, February 29th, of my childhood friends John and Charlie who were born on this day in 1952. My parents were friends with their parents. I lost track of them in my teen years.

I did a search on them and discovered that John died while living on Staten Island, my hometown, on April 8, 2005. The obituary did not say much except that John was married and had two children. What I found on Charlie was more extensive. Here are a few excerpts from his memorial.

Father Charles E. Buraus died in his rectory at St. Teresa Catholic Church in Fushimi, Diocese of Kyoto, Japan about 9:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 8, 1992. He was 40 years of age and a Maryknoll priest for 11 years in Japan.

A wake was held on Wednesday, September 9 in Japan for the parishioners of St. Teresa’s. His Superior wrote: “It was a spontaneous outpouring of love from the Christian community of Fushimi, which is a poorer section of the city of Kyoto. The Marthas and Marys prepared food for the mourners. The men came as they were from work. They prayed, sang hymns of Faith, and recounted cherished memories of Fr. Charlie’s generosity and above all his gentleness. Charlie had shared their life, visited their homes, worked on parish projects together, and was always available for pastoral counseling. His personality was ideal for mission and ministry…. For the Maryknoll family here in Japan it was a shock though all were aware of his health situation. He was ever at the disposal of others. While it is difficult to lose a young talented missioner, his influence in the parish and the diocese will live on in the Christians he guided, the vocations he nurtured, and the priests he shared his ministry with. In a way it is a great blessing, he taught people how to live and how to die. He was always smiling and apologetic when visited in the hospital. He bore the sufferings of the Lord, and now he shares the joys of the Resurrection. A great missioner of Maryknoll; I am envious.”


I was moved by the words spoken about Charlie - especially that he taught people how to live and how to die.  His life seemed to embody the love and character of Jesus. I wish that I had kept up with he and John as we all grew older. Even so, it has been great thinking about these two old friends.


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