Fr. Al Lauer, toward the end of his struggle with cancer, said more than once that he thought the Lord would heal him completely. As he slid further into illness he never gave up this idea. A month prior to his death I asked him again. "Yes," he said, "when I pray and ask the Lord, I keep getting the notion of 'light.' It has something to do with 'light,' and I don't know what that means." Fr. Al took his last breath approximately 9:30 PM, Sunday, October 13, 2002 at Old St. Mary's (Cincinnati, OH) following the recitation of Night Prayer. A small number of friends and family prayed around his sick bed.
In mid-October 2002, Catholics began to include the new Luminous Mysteries in their rosary recitation. Fr. Al would have loved the new mysteries! In particular, the Third Luminous Mystery: "the proclamation of the kingdom and invitation to conversion" is so basic to Presentation Ministries (PM). PM exists to proclaim the kingdom and disciple Catholics more deeply in their faith. "Daily Bread" radio program, the Bible Telephone teachings, and One Bread, One Body were three major ministries to which he dedicated much energy. These promote the daily eucharistic scriptures and encourage attendance at daily Mass. How well they fit with the Fifth Luminous Mystery: the Institution of the Eucharist! Many times we heard Fr. Al's teachings about concretely living our baptismal brotherhood and sisterhood through belonging to home-based communities (Mystery #1 Jesus is baptized in the Jordan). He encouraged all to follow their vocations, especially the vocation to strong Christian marriage (Mystery #2: changing water into wine at the Marriage Feast of Cana).
If memory serves, the initial promulgation of these new mysteries came the very week between Fr. Al's death and burial. The Luminous Mysteries – the Mysteries of LIGHT – seemed to be intimately tied up with the week of Fr. Al's passing from this world into eternity. Could this be why Fr. Al repeatedly heard the word "light" in his prayer those last few weeks? The week of Oct 13-19, 2002 was a big week for the word LIGHT in the Catholic world.