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the Men of Holy Family ministry

the Men of Holy Family

"Strong Faith, Strong Foundation, Strong Future"


the Men of Holy Family Catholic Church of Orlando, FL


Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando, FL

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  Ed Rivera

            Edelmiro Rivera, Jr.


     Born to this World: September 4, 1943

     Born to Eternal Life: August 7, 2011


A Request for Your Prayers for Ed's wife, Val during this most difficult time.

Ed Rivera will be fondly remembered for his Intense Faith, Quiet Guidance and Strong Friendship...

We are better for having had Ed touch our lives with his warm heart, great humor and love of life.

Ed was born in Tampa, FL, the son of Edelmiro and Caridad (Castillo) Rivera. Ed was co-founder of Central Florida Box Corp., an avid golfer and very active in the Holy Family Catholic Church.

Ed is survived by his loving wife, Valerie Rivera; his children, Jacqueline Leigh Rivera-Atkinson and Gerald Richard Rivera; his grandchildren, Jesse Daniel Atkinson and Amber Lynn Atkinson; and siblings.

As we celebrate the life of our dear friend, we note with great fondness some of the ideals and strengths of the man who touched our life. We remember Ed as a very passionate man always contributing to the community whether it was his time, his talent, his strong faith or his treasure. Ed was never found to be unhappy or down. In fact, Ed was the one lifting any down or sour mood he came upon. He always shared a laugh, certainly a smile. You always felt better after talking with Ed.

The following are shared observations about Ed. Please note the terrific example of humanity, love and grace displayed in these contributions.   

TREASURE: Ed was very generous with all he held and believed. Beyond his sizable contributions to the church in various ways including the campus expansion via "Our Family, Our Faith, Our Future", Ed contributed in smaller ways. This is demonstrated by his donation of corrugated box material to the annual fish fry dinners used on the kitchen floors to improve safety and make it easier to clean each Friday night. Many never knew he did this to save time and effort for the men. Ed preferred it this way.

TIME: Ed gave of his time to many people and groups. His gracious offer knew no bounds. However, Ed was never on time.... he was always early to each and every event and meeting he participated in. He was eager to interact, and share of his great gifts. He was the first face many of the parish would see at the annual Lenten Fish Fry dinners as he welcomed them, collected the money and sharing a good word or laugh. This was a great way for many families to start their evening meal. Ed looked forward to taking part in this welcome each week.

TALENT: Despite his own failing health, Ed was a great support to others whose health was less than desired. He gave of his faith, his time and his moral strength and support to fellow members of the Emmaus and Men of Holy Family ministries. He was quite inspirational in his manner, strength and conviction of spirit, and that gave other strength. He also shared his terrific humor, and positive out-look which was quite infectious.

PASSION: Ed held many passions; Golf, his family, St. Vincent DePaul Society, the Emmaus ministry, & the Men of Holy Family ministry, and all they entail. Ed was faith in action, and a tremendous example to all of us.


Ed had great humor and happiness about him


A wisdom filled man, Ed was patient with decisions. He'd pray, discern, wait and repeat the cycle with faith until he "knew" what to do.


Ed displayed "Excellence in Love"; displaying God's Love here on earth through his actions.


Ed had a deep respect for moral values, the teachings of the church and respect for the church as an institution itself.


Ed was contemplative. He prayed a lot. He spent time with the Lord often in Adoration and at home. He saw suffering as his cross to bear. He unified his suffering with that of Christs'. Through this he became stronger in his love of the Lord, and deeper in his faith.


Ed loved the "truth" and he [like the Lord] was "slow to anger". This is a HUGE trait that so many of us don't have. One many could see, but not fully emulate.


Ed had "self control". He displayed it often; in the heat of Men of Holy Family arguments, and on the golf course, and in his marriage.


Ed was courageous. How many of us would have taken the odds that he took to have that surgery. Start a business. Come back to his faith. Courageous with his deep faith.


Ed was private, VERY private. Ask around and see how many people really know anything about Eddie? Find anyone?


He was an important part of Vinnie Unger's Gang at St Vincent DePaul Society in helping others. Ed had a strong dedication to the poor, impoverished and needy. This far exceeded his passion for other ministry work. This gave him deeper faith, more resolve and keener sense of his purpose.

Ed golfed weekly (and later, weakly) with a standing foursome (Father Gregory, Armand Carpentier & Bill Droste). He was always adapting to his condition so that he could stay on the golf course. Being tied to an oxygen tank, he learned to swing the club with the tank remaining in the cart. He had a special flag on his cart which allowed him to get closer to the greens. The wonderful thing was with his handicap(s), he was still the better golfer of his foursome. Eddie always looked forward to lunch & the fellowship so he could relive the "shots" of the day and not all were golf. This brought joy to Ed, and the ability to share his passion for life and the game of golf.

For many years, Ed was the spiritual leader of the Men of Holy Family, and started each meeting with readings and reflections to engage the members. This was another time to bring men of faith to a deeper understanding and appreciation of their faith. Despite his deep theological knowledge and beliefs, Ed always had one burning unanswered question, "How Do IT Know?"

To the everyday man, Ed was a terrific guy with faith-filled words and a happy-to-know-you-greeting. To those honored to know Ed a bit better, you will know him to be an exceptional man whose selflessness, strong faith and quiet confidence made you want to be more like him. We will miss our Eddie. Salute to a life well lived, and an example for the rest of us to strive for.

May the Lord keep you in His Peace, brother Ed, until we meet again in paradise.


August 9, 2011 --

Dear MOHF Members and Emmaus Brothers and Sisters,

Your prayers are requested for the soul of Ed Rivera who passed from what is believed to be blood clout complications at 10:00 PM on Sunday, August 7, 2011. Ed was in evening prayers with his wife, Valeria when the Lord called him home.

Over the past many weeks you have been dedicated in lifting him up in your prayer intentions.

Hearing of your prayers for himself, for his beloved wife Valerie, for his family and dear friends, knowing that your faith was strong and that your love did not cease, he gave thanks. We are grateful for his friendship and his faith and confident that his spirit knows dearly how deep are the riches and wisdom of God. He is at rest.

In your prayers and Adoration hours please find consolation in your faith and the friendship and promise that we share with Our Risen Lord.

Valerie has requested that donations in Ed's name may be made to:
  The St. Vincent DePaul Society
  Holy Family Church
  5125 South Apopka-Vineland Road
  Orlando, FL. 32819

Thank You, Armand for helping coordinating this sorrowful occasion.

--  Bill Droste, Dear Friend, Past President of the MOHF

--  Richard Dodd, Holy Family Men's Emmaus

From the beginning message regarding Ed's Surgery:

June 7, 2011 --


Ed Rivera
As I shared with the ministry last week, our dear Emmaus brother Ed Rivera received a lung transplant at Shands Hospital in Gainesville on June 1st.  I am receiving general status updates from Armand Carpentier and Bill Droste on his recovery and would like to reinforce the importance of keeping Ed and his wife Valerie in your prayers.  For those who may wish to send a card, they can be sent as follows:

Mr. Ed Rivera
C/O Armand Carpentier
Winter Garden, FL. 34787
Armand is visiting Ed daily and can easily carry any correspondence to him when received at the address noted above.  If you would like to reach Ed and Valerie via the internet, Shands also has a "Care Mail" website @ www.Shands.org to which E-Mails may be sent to Ed's attention Monday - Friday.  Post recovery at hospital and rehab will require an extended stay in Gainesville to monitor any potential complications as well as the long term acceptance of his new lung.  With respect to specific details regarding Ed's condition, I want to observe the privacy and discretion which both Ed and Val deserve during this recovery period.  Thanks to Armand and Bill for forwarding updates.  I will keep you posted according to the information I receive, and in the interim, ask that they Ed and Valerie be held in your prayer and Mass intentions.


- - Richard Dodd, Holy Family Men's Emmaus


July 2, 2011 --

"Day 31 - Ed Rivera"

Overall this has been a very good week for Ed. He seemed to make the turn for the better about 4 days ago. He continues to sleep better and eat a little more each day. He's walking for about 15 minutes a day now, which is good. His water retention/swelling is almost totally gone. His donor lung is still showing very little signs of rejection (that's the best news). He still has one drain tube in the side of his chest. He's running about 95% oxygen saturation with very little oxygen. That's the best news.

Ed and Val are so grateful for your prayers and they constantly tell me to "thank" all of you for your prayers, love and support.


- - Armand Carpentier, Dear Friend, Past President of the MOHF.


July 12, 2011 --

"Day 41 - Ed Rivera"

And what a glorious day it was indeed!  Today, Ed was told by the doctors that he was well enough to be released from the hospital and go to his medical condo near the hospital to begin his 3 month rehab/recovery program. "Praise God!"  A warm, warm Thank you to the Emmaus community for all the prayers and grace filled thoughts on Ed's behalf. Ed & Valerie are so, SO grateful to all of you and especially for the "Almighty Healer"!  

- - Armand Carpentier, Dear Friend, Past President of the MOHF. 

August 1, 2011 --

We talked with Valerie yesterday and it has been a wild ride. Eddie was released from the hospital after breathing difficulties but had to be readmitted Sunday. He has developed a blood clot in his pulmonary artery. They are treating it with blood thinners. Ed is currently in ICU heavily sedated and on a ventilator (this a precaution until he is seen by the his doctor). The transplant was on June 1, so there is still a long recovery ahead. Thanks to God that each complication is being overcome.

Thank you for continuing to pray and do not forget Val who is continually at his side.

--  Bill Droste, Dear Friend, Past President of the MOHF


August 3, 2011 --

Dear MOHF Ministry,

 Today's report - Just talked with Valerie and it is great news. Ed has had the ventilator removed, lung function and vital signs are good. The blood thinners are working and the doctor expects to move him into a regular room tomorrow. In fact Valerie was very happy to see Eddie eat a bit of lunch on his own.

--  Bill Droste, Dear Friend, Past President of the MOHF


For More Information Contact:

Jon White

President, 2011-12

the Men of Holy Family
5125 S. Apopka-Vineland Rd, Orlando, FL 32819