HOMILY of Fr Liam McClarey
For the Funeral of Fr GERRY (GERARD) FRAWLEY- Tuesday June 7th 2022
Apocalypse 14:13- Psalm sung- 1 John 3:1-2: Matthew 5:1-12
‘Called By Name’ is an often cited Pallottine Manual of Formation for the Union of Catholic Apostolate. In the Rite of Baptism, we hear that ‘we are called by our name in this life and in eternity ‘and then the parents- Thomas & Kathleen in this instance are asked what name they have chosen for their son. Sometimes our baptismal name does not equal our known name. So, Patrick becomes Gerard or Gerry or even Ger.
We speak someone’s name: in this instance two words: Gerry Frawley; and we observe the reaction- a smile; or we hear a remark/ a comment in Gerry’s case always favourable. I must admit that when I contacted Mary to give her the sad news she only said one word: Gerard. For you and Rena one word is sufficient to encapsulate your brother.
In Volume 10 of his Opere Complete (Complete Works) St Vincent Pallotti writes: ‘Since good is all that I plan to do… I intend to do good always.’ (OOCC, X 32-33)
The Funeral Liturgy of the Church echoing our first reading expresses confidence ‘that God always remembers the good we have done and forgives our sins.’ Gerry himself would cringe at the detailed list of his appointments on three Continents; in Tanzania, England and in the United States. But having followed him in Greenford I can honestly attest to his positive stamp remaining, some twenty years later.
The Gospel of the Beatitudes is arguably the best great roadmap to the Christian life. Gerry followed the Beatitudes in his pastoral ministry. The addition of a Condolences section allows priests to almost cheat at Funerals: we look up what others are saying about our brother, our in-law, our uncle, our neighbour, our confrere, and our friend.
He will be remembered with a mixture of sadness and happiness- a lovely man; a thorough gentleman; very kind, compassionate, selfless, helpful to everyone- he did not compare one appointment to another; – it is the people of the parish which Gerry considered most important- always helping the poor; he generously promoted and supported the Pallottine Missions in East Africa. All as St John tells us in the 2nd Reading ‘are already the children of God’ and Gerry treated all as such. He practised the Mystery of the Visitation and then capped it all off by having the ability to remember people’s names decades later.
Gerry had a wonderful balance in life. He was relaxed, easy-going even. It was a joy to be in his company but he was at the same time always conscientious. His homilies were well- prepared and to the point; he was thorough in his pastoral duties and in his Pallottine tasks, such as when he served as Delegate in the United States.
There was the hidden part of his life which he cared for diligently. He was an avid reader- his Breviary, the Prayer of the Church; some spiritual reading was always at hand. He found inner- peace as a priest based on this bedrock of prayer. When he read for knowledge he favoured something biographical if not auto biographical. Then for current events or news in the paper he would become Chinese. They read from right to left. Gerry read newspapers in a similar manner beginning with the most important sections first- sport on the back pages and then would work his way through to the front.
He played hurling well; was both a keen and a good golfer- often the former does not guarantee the latter in that sport; enjoyed a game of 45; thoroughly enjoyed American football; delighted in the success of the Limerick county hurlers and was known to contact fellow Pallottines, from other counties, to ensure they knew the latest results. Of course, there was his pipe and sometimes the chair moved so he could enjoy his smoke outside the college here, and his faithful dogs. He had a great love of nature and the quiet walk to ponder and it goes without saying his love of Knockaderry. Then there was Listowel in September and other important events associated with the Sport of Kings. We were able to watch racing on RTE when I visited Knockaderry. So respectful silence was observed and then post- race analysis over tea prepared by Mary & Rena, with all four giving their views on the afternoon’s racing.
Therefore, we have a brief outline of Gerry’s life- each of us has our own particular memory or memories of his Visitation among us. These memories are important.
Gerry was not into long sermons or glowing tributes even if in his case they are richly deserved. I wish to conclude with the words on his Silver Jubilee Card from 1993:
People ask a great deal of their priest, and they should.
But, they should also understand it is not easy to be a priest.
He has given himself in all the ardour of youth, yet he remains a man.
Every day the man in him tries to bring back what he has surrendered.
It is a continual struggle to remain completely at the service of Christ and of others.
A priest needs no praise or embarrassing gifts. What he needs is that those
Committed to his charge, should be loving their fellows more and more,
Prove to him that he has not given his life in vain.
Let’s love one another!
Late of Knockaderry, Co. Limerick and St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Wyandotte, Michigan. Fr. Gerry passed away unexpectedly on May 23rd In Wyandotte. Son of the late Thomas and Kathleen, brother of Mary and Rena and the late Tom R.I.P. Deeply regretted by his sisters, sister-in-law, nieces and partners, grand nieces, grand nephews, his Pallottine community, former parishioners, neighbours, relations and friends.
May Fr. Gerry Rest in Peace
There will be a Funeral Mass in St. Vincent Pallotti Parish, Wyandotte at 1pm local time on Friday, June 3rd. This Mass will be streamed live at 6pm Irish time. The Link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOTaWspZYDw
Fr, Gerry will repose in the Pallottine College, Thurles on Monday, June 6th from 3 to 7pm. He will then be received into the Pallottine Chapel in the college at 7pm. There will be a concelebrated Mass in the Pallottine College, Thurles on Tuesday, June 7th at 12 noon followed by interment in the Community Cemetery, St. Mary’s, Cabra, Thurles.
Family flowers only please.
Mother Of Divine Love Province
We are very sad to announce that Father Gerry Frawley SAC has died suddenly in Wyandotte, Michigan, USA and we offer our deepest sympathy to his family and to the Pallottine community who will miss him greatly. May he rest in Peace.
Gerry was born on December 13 1940, Professed as a Pallottine on September 12, 1963 and ordained a priest on June 8, 1968, died May 23, 2022.
Fr. Patrick Gerard (Gerry) Frawley S.A.C. (Dec 13th 1940 – May 23rd 2022).
It is with great sadness we share the news of the death of Fr. Gerry who was born in his beloved Knockaderry, County Limerick, Ireland. After Secondary school, Fr Gerry entered the Pallottine Seminary in Thurles, County Tipperary. Fr Gerry made his First Consecration on September 12, 1963 and was ordained a priest on June 8, 1968 in the Cathedral in Thurles.
His first assignment after ordination was to Makiungu Parish in Tanzania, East Africa. While there he also served in Singida Parish and Kirondotal & Kiomboi. He did an enormous amount of work during his time on the missions. Fr. Gerry put new seats in the old church; but now there is a beautiful cathedral in Singida. Fr Gerry was very kind and outgoing in nature. He was a favorite with young and old alike. He could spend hours getting stories out of the old men and women. While Fr Gerry was in Makiungu he endeared himself to all. He was completely selfless and always ready to help.
In 1972, he was reassigned to London, England as associate pastor in the Pallottine Parishes of Barking & Greenford prior to being transferred to The United States in 1976, where he brought the same selfless qualities. His first appointment in the United States was to Ely, Nevada. In 1979 he was moved to Idalou/Lorenzo, Texas; in 1985 to Stephenville, Texas and in 1990 Fr. Gerry was appointed to St. Joseph Parish in Wyandotte, Michigan where he served for 10 years. During that time Fr Gerry made many lifelong friends. While ministering in St. Joseph Parish Fr. Gerry undertook the task of building the parish hall and made it his goal to visit every family in the parish. With his great encouragement and kind words Fr. Gerry served everyone. He was kind and caring to all, never having a cross word to say.
In the year 2000 Fr. Gerry left St. Joseph Parish to continue his ministry at St. Nicholas, Capac & St. John the Evangelist, Allenton Michigan, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga in Romulus, Saint Christopher, Detroit, Michigan and in 2009 Fr. Gerry was blessed to join St. Anne Church, Ortonville, Michigan. After 53 years of active ministry Fr Gerry concluded his active ministry in September 2021.
Throughout his years in ministry, Fr Gerry generously promoted and supported the Pallottine Foreign Missions. Fr Gerry will be deeply missed by his loving sisters Mary and Rena, his nieces and nephews as well as his Pallottine Community. Fr. Gerry was predeceased by his loving parents, Thomas and Kathleen and his brother Tom. Fr. Gerry will be deeply missed by his many friends and the parishioners he served in Wyandotte and throughout the world. He will be fondly remembered as a wonderful man and a dedicated priest.
Fr Gerry recently said “The priesthood gave me inner-peace. Becoming a priest has brought me a peace of mind that I cannot put into words. You can’t have inner-peace all the time, rather there are situations in life that can disturb you—so I ask God every day for the gift of peace. There have been times I’ve struggled in life and times I’ve experienced some crosses too —but I never had any regrets about my calling”.
May Fr Gerry rest in peace in the glory of Eternal Life. Fr Gerry will lay in repose on June 2nd, 12 noon to 8pm. Funeral celebration June 3rd at 1pm—St Joseph Church Wyandotte.
Photos of Father Gerry ://photos.app.goo.gl/ACpjQkQGmxvFtUKZ8