If my brother Tony Sirico aka 'Paulie Walnuts' could steal heaven, so can you

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Editor’s note: What follows is an edited homily given at the Requiem Mass for Tony Sirico, who played “Paulie Walnuts” in HBO’s “The Sopranos,” at the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Brooklyn, New York on July 13, 2022. It’s based upon Saint Luke’s account (23:39-43) of Jesus’s crucifixion.

There is no need for me to rehearse the details of my brother’s life—the great change that took place in its trajectory from when he was young that brought him to the success he came to enjoy as he matured.

Besides, it is not the role of a priest in a funeral homily to eulogize the deceased. My role, which I take as seriously as Tony took his acting, is to communicate to you the love of God that comes to us in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the face of death. Death is not the final word in the Christian vocabulary—life is—eternal life, into which my brother has now passed.

Nor is it my role to canonize my brother. For that, I would have to refer you to a higher authority.

What I can do is point out to you some dimensions of this man’s complex

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