Feast of Saint Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist
Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Gabriel, Passionist. When I was a student in the Passionist Seminary (long ago) we prayed a prayer to St. Gabriel every day. The prayer began with the phrase “O angelic youth, St. Gabriel”. I never found it easy to identify with an angelic youth! At the end of the prayer we prayed “so that living continually as good Christians in all the adversities of the present life, we may one day be happy with thee in our heavenly home.” I could identify with this prayer!
Lately we have seen several good members of the Passionist Family depart for “our heavenly home.” Maybe today is a good time to remember them, along with St. Gabriel.
Denis McGowan, C.P., was a person who gave everything up in his life to go to Japan as a Passionist Missionary. At Denis’ funeral Mass, Fr. John Day, C.P., spoke lovingly of Denis’ sacrifice in leaving his mother, to go off on a journey into the unknown where he would become a beacon of Christ in a Japanese parish for many years. Fr. Denis was beloved by his parish family and his Passionist Family.
Barry Rankin was a person who co-founded one of the great theological schools in the United States, Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He was also described at his funeral Mass as a theologian and mystic. As the homilist said “The desire for communion with God drove Barry throughout his life. This desire brought him to the Passionist community. The motto of the Passionists is “May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts.” Barry had that passion, that love in his heart. It was love of God and other.”
Harry Watson was a person who loved his family completely. He also was a former member of the Passionists. Harry loved music, his friends and his family and had a knack for generously assisting anyone in need. Recently he assisted Fr. Simon, a senior Passionist in Louisville, with the publication of Simon’s ministry newsletter “Think Life” for the elderly. Harry spread joy and comfort with his music ministry throughout the archdiocese of Louisville. Many tears fell last week for this true Passionist and our good friend.
Angelic youth? Yes, St. Gabriel certainly lived up to that description. Passionist Family members who lived and loved in an angelic way? Yes, Denis, Barry and Harry all fulfilled the highest aspirations of our Passionist Family.
Gabriel, Denis, Barry and Harry, pray for us. Help us to keep the Passion of Jesus Christ always in our hearts!
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family in Louisville, Kentucky.