May 7, 2020
by Director of Mission, Mr Geoff Brodie
This week we were cast back into the feelings and questions of Good Friday with the death of a good man, Gerard Sullivan. Our prayers and deepest condolences reach out to his wife Suzie, his daughters, Ella and Lucinda, and to all his family and friends. In offering these prayers we include the community of St Patrick’s, where Gerard chose to pursue his vocation of guiding young souls. Our sadness is real and deep.
I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
my eye grows dim through sorrow.
Every day I call on you, O Lord;
I spread out my hands to you. (Ps 88:9)
Though our hearts must bear the duty of grieving fully the loss of our friend, the origin of our Catholic faith is the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection. The confusion and despair of Good Friday has been transformed forever by this great truth. Eternal life, which is the gift of abiding in the sweetness of God’s love, is ours if we accept love as the centre of our being. In Gerard, we have an example of a man who lived the Christian choice.
Pope Francis proclaims the family as the ‘yes’ of God’s love. Gerard radiated the joy of his family and it guided how he fulfilled his teaching, for he knew the young men of St Patrick’s as souls yearning to be loved, restless in the search of the joy their hearts desire. He knew this because he understood the fulfilment he experienced in the love of Suzie, Ella and Lucinda as participation in God’s unlimited and creative love. Gerard was a man faithful to God. His sense of responsibility and his freedom to act for the good of his students were gifts that flowed from his faith in Jesus – a faith witnessed with joyful clarity every time he spoke as a husband and a father. The fundamental ‘yes’ to love Gerard shared with his family was a gift he chose to share with the St Patrick’s community. For this we thank God.
One of many expressions of Gerard’s faith was his capacity to offer hope to boys who were disengaged, confused, angry at the world. In ways he discerned through careful reflection, he would gently bring the young man to the recognition that he is loved, and through love, possessed the capacity to take responsibility for his life, and not merely drift from one poor choice to another. To be present when Gerard did this is one of the graces of my time at St Patrick’s College.
On Monday morning our staff united in prayer. I offer these prayers for your own participation in the sadness and hope of our community, and to pray for our unity in the Holy Spirit.
Let us pray…
That the soul of Gerard, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, may rest in peace. Hear our prayer, Loving God.
That Gerard’s wife, Suzie, and his daughters, Ella and Lucinda, may know the consoling power of God’s love. Hear our prayer, Loving God.
That Gerard’s entire family may be strengthened and comforted by the bonds of love at this time. Hear our prayer, Loving God.
That all who grieve for Gerard may treasure the gifts he offered throughout his life. Hear our prayer, Loving God.
May God, who by the Resurrection of Jesus was pleased to confer on us the gift of redemption, grant us gladness in our friendships. Amen
May Jesus, who through friendship has offered us the gift of freedom in this life, and eternal life with God, grant us hearts to receive the gifts of love. Amen
And May the Holy Spirit guide us in faith, so that our living on earth may be united with the promises of our eternal homeland in heaven. Amen
Gerard Sullivan, Requiescat in peace.