Yet something also drove him to reach out, to accept some gifts and offer others the gift of his memory and attention, said parishioner Joe Jones, who sang the Irish lament "Danny Boy" at the end of the Mass in honor of his friend.
"Peter Bis was a gentle soul. ... There was certainly much more there than a grunt and a curse word," said Jones. "The last thing people do today when talking to a stranger is call them by name. That's how Pete connected. ... He called us by name and that slowed us down. That made Pete real to us."
Terry Mattingly is the director of the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and leads the GetReligion.org project to study religion and the news.
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