"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…amen." The Bishop's words were soft, and as they faded, he allowed his hand to linger on Luka's head, giving the man time to gain control of the emotions his confession had raised.
"Amen." He repeated the word automatically before giving into the grief that reliving the deaths had raised. For eight years he had kept the memories of that day to himself, bearing the shame of his failures as punishment for his own survival.
"Luka, it's my burden now." He would never know if Bishop Stewart knew those would be his final words, but, within minutes of reaffirming what he knew to be the power of the confessional he was gone. It took Luka another minute to realize the man had crossed over and as he did, he rose and began switching off the various support machines.
Why now? When Danijela and their children's lives had been taken he had turned his back on the Church, now, after so many years he finally has someone he can talk to and he too is taken, it made no sense, or did it? The dilemma placed before him left him struggling, but, he couldn't deny that the Bishop had opened the door for his return to the Church. Was that the plan he had in mind for him all along?
"Doctor Kovac, how is he?" Father Joe's voice broke into his thoughts and he turned toward the door to see the Bishop's Aide standing there, the look of concern clearly etched on his face.
"I'm sorry, Father, he's gone." There was nothing he could say that would soften the blow, a loss was a loss, the pain the same no matter how prepared you thought you were for it.
"I'll give you some time alone, and, Father, maybe, in the next couple days if you have some time, we could talk?" It was a start. Bishop Stewart had opened the door for his return to the Church, if he were going to step through it, anything else was up to him.