Looking back, it makes sense that my dad was called from this Earth to be with God on Good Friday.

A lifelong practicing Catholic and a man of deep faith, my father did not just talk the talk — he lived his faith every day and worked throughout his life to be a better Christian. In between the raindrops — between his full-time work over the years as a sales and marketing professional in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, through raising his six children and enjoying his 18 grandchildren, through travel all over the world (when he was able to) with his wife of more than 45 years — he attended Mass, read the Bible, prayed the rosary, and often talked of trying to deepen his relationship with Jesus Christ.

It’s so easy today to make fun of things, to demean, criticize, downplay, or, in some cases, exaggerate and overplay — maybe that is how some people get through things, survive and push on. But this was real.

He left us four years ago now, when we were all with him, at his home, where he was immobile but in no pain after a valiant battle with several illnesses. It was Good Friday, around 3:30 p.m.

True to his humility, though, never, ever would Dad have “predicted” that — he was too modest to associate himself with such an extraordinarily significant day in the Catholic faith, when Jesus endured His great passion and died for a far greater purpose than Himself.

Dad went to Mass not just on Sunday, no matter where he lived, but often more than that. Mom said that in his retirement in their suburb of Philadelphia, he would sometimes take a drive and stop into their local church to spend a few moments alone in prayer. He kept the Bible on his nightstand, at his table in the family room, and on the kitchen table. He went above and beyond his “duties” as a dad and often helped out other family members and friends as well — people who might need someone to talk to even for a few moments, or to hear a friendly voice on the phone fas they worked through a problem or an issue.

Related: How the Lessons of Good Friday Can Change Our Lives

People often called him day and night for a bit of advice, a chat, a laugh. He also called them, too, to ask how they were doing. In an increasingly virtual world — my dad made voice contact. He was that kind of person (you know them when you meet them).

How he made time for all of this, I have no idea, but if you were talking to him, you had 100 percent of his attention. He had that ability — not just a salesman’s gift to forge a connection with people, but a genuine consideration for those he made room for in his packed life.

Injustice, pain, evil, horror in the world — all of that bothered him greatly. If one of his kids, grandkids, brothers, nieces, nephews or close friends was hurting — he felt it. We saw it on his face or heard it in his voice.

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Shortly after my dad passed away, many people reached out to us to tell us what an impact he had on them. “I will always remember your father — he was a great man,” said a guy my dad had coached years ago (in addition to everything else, my dad was a winning basketball coach for years at our northern New Jersey Catholic grammar school). It’s easy to think words like “great” and “what a guy” roll off people’s tongues in the face of sadness or tragedy, but this felt different somehow.

“Think about it — your dad died on Good Friday, and my dad died on Christmas day,” said one of my cousins when we talked on the phone after Dad’s passing. We shared our losses together, the weight of their passing and the gift of their love. Our dads were brothers — hardworking people, family men, religious, salt of the earth. They left their mark.

Related: An Undeniable Hero This Holy Week

On Good Friday, a most solemn day, when the church is stripped down, the organ is quiet, when the faithful read the passion of Christ and try their best to grasp the great cost to Jesus of winning the redemption of so many — we reflect deeply on our faith.

On this day, Jesus said, “It is finished.” He bowed his head and handed over His spirit to God.

Pray, get closer to God, work hard, do the right thing…

It is not a day of celebration. We read and pray about the passion of Christ before we get to the joy, the light, of Easter.

In his quiet, modest, humble but deeply faithful way, on this solemn day — somehow my dad left us a message. Pray, get closer to God, work hard, do the right thing — work through the difficulties to be able to come out on the other side, to the festivities, the happiness, the closeness with your Creator, the joy and the light. 

He didn’t say those words, but that is the lasting meaning that this grateful daughter takes from his life.

This article appeared earlier in LifeZette and has been updated.