Just returned from the funeral of Gerri Frechette at Corpus Christi church, Wethersfield, CT. She was the mother of Fr. Rick Frechette, CP, the director of St. Damien children’s hospital in Haiti.
He was attending his dying mother when the earthquake struck Haiti last week and at her urging he returned to help in the disaster. He returned to her bedside a few days ago and as he and his family were celebrating Mass around her bed, she died.
In his homily, Fr. Rick said how grateful he was that as a priest he was able to offer his mother to the Lord as part of the great offering Jesus makes in the mystery of the Eucharist. A woman of great faith, she knew the significance of her death at this moment.
Fr. Rick commented on how different his mother’s death and burial were from what thousands experienced in the Haitian earthquake. Her death was expected; she prepared for it; all the funeral arrangements for her burial were carried out with great care and dignity. The Haitian dead died unexpectedly; they had no warning; the bodies of many of them were dumped unceremoniously in mass graves, unaccompanied by loved ones and signs of respect and faith.
A number of Fr. Rick’s Haitian associates attended the funeral. He will return with them to Haiti and their relief efforts tomorrow.
Fr. Rick expressed the hope that the world will be a place where people could live their lives, like his mother, in dignity and respect and pass to the Lord in confidence and with a sense of fulfillment, as she had done.
May she rest in peace, and may all those who have fallen asleep, rest in the peace of Christ.