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Tribute to a Special Man – My Uncle

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My Uncle passed at 3.30 this morning (7th May). Thank you all for your prayers xx

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Father George on his birthday last October with his two sisters

Whether you choose to read this or not, all I ask is you take a moment to offer a prayer for a Catholic Priest and my uncle, Father George Gerry. His whole life has been spent praying for everyone and now it is our turn to pray for him in his hour of need, as he lies on his death bed. Please take one moment of your time to do this small thing that would mean so much to him and to us as his family. Thank you.

Uncle George

Son, brother, uncle and priest, this was a man with far more to him than any other ordinary man. He has a gift of healing that left many stunned at results due to his prayers and laying on of hands. Not that he’d ever have called it that in a million years. He is of the old school and train of thought as far as that sort of thing goes, but he did acknowledge there are a few people who have such gifts of God.

He knew to a limited degree about mine and I am sure he knew he, his mother and one of his sister’s did too – that sister being my mother. Out of them all, I am the only one who acknowledges my gifts openly. I didn’t for many years and hid them like most other people born with them and who believe in God tend to. I speak in the past tense about this part, because it is many years ago since it was discussed very briefly and never to be talked of again.

Many years ago, uncle George had an aortic aneurism and was thought to have no real hope of surviving. Despite a coma of ten days and us being told he would be a vegetable for life if he did come around, he was perfectly well. Recovery took a while, but within three months he was back at work full time and taking First Holy Communion lessons again.

It was at the time of his operation I had a vision – well, two actually – showing me the outcome. This was kept to myself and only mentioned to my mother some time later during his convalescence. She was only told then, because she’d asked why I was the only one who kept insisting I knew he would be fine – stressing the ‘knowing’ bit each time. She then related it to my uncle who stared me in the eyes at length, before saying only two words, “it happens”. I told them I had the gifts and so did they. There was a slight nod of agreement, which was barely perceptible. That was the full extent of any conversation. I won’t say more here about the visions, as it is in my book Are Mediums Real.

We were always of a very close family and still are. Uncle George is my mother’s brother. One of five surviving children, he is now in his nineties and only in the last year have we seen him go from the strong big man we all knew, to the shrunken man he has become due to age and health. Even shrunken, he is larger than life and still not old or shrunken as one would see in so many others.

As a young man, he joined the royal navy during war years and entered the priesthood later in life. For many years he was first a naval chaplain (Padre) in Plymouth, Devon and then the prison chaplain at Portland in Dorset.

In June this year, he would have been due to receive a letter from the pope inviting him to the Vatican in recognition of sixty years in the priesthood. This is something we all hoped he’d live to see.

I recall one day my mother telling us how they’d gone to visit my uncle and couldn’t find him anywhere. The door was open, so they knew he was in. They eventually heard something in the garden and went to look for him. They could see no one. Just as they were about to go in, a branch fell nearby. Looking up, they saw my uncle up the tree the branch had fallen from. He was pruning the top. He was almost ninety at the time and this is years after the illness mentioned above.

To this day, I have never seen him in anything but his black priests trousers and shirt, whether on duty of not. The only clue to his not being on duty, was no dog collar and the top button of his shirt undone. Always in short sleeved shirts, I have also never seen him in a jumper or cardigan and he only ever wore his jacket when he had to, due to official functions. After mass, he would speak with his parishioners outside in his vestments then later join them in the church hall in his black attire and dog collar. Bare lower arms showing despite rain, wind or snow.

None of the modern ways pandering to the demands of the here today gone tomorrow crowd were for him. He stood firm in God’s ways to the end. He never catered to the demands of the whims others have been seen to do and yet his church was the one packed to the gills each week. People travelled from all over to attend his masses.

He never used Eucharistic ministers preferring to see to his sick parishioners himself. He would sit with them and give them his time, prayers and comfort. He was a priest such as we used to see everywhere years ago and is sadly seen so little of now. He only retired in his late eighties.

My uncle George showed me there is no need to pander to whims of what people demand. The important thing is to stick to pleasing God and God only. The people who are genuine in their love of God will stay with you, those who aren’t will seek elsewhere for people to give them only what they want to hear.

He has baptised all the children of the family except for later years, married them and even buried them – his own parents and brothers included. His voice boomed strong and loud in a way no one could ignore and in later years, his deafness meant he boomed even louder. He refused to wear his hearing aids, would never give in to illness and lived alone without housekeepers or curates. He did his own cleaning, cooking and gardening until the last year.

Bird feeders would all be filled each morning, the birdbath cleaned and topped up. On Sunday’s, the beef would be in the oven before mass with potatoes and vegetables peeled the night before ready on the side. Laundry done and his ironing just as he was taught to do in the navy. Even through any illness or disability he has insisted on living alone and seeing to himself as much as able.

Each year we would receive a mass card on our birthdays and this is something I will miss dreadfully. To have a mass said for your own special intentions is something so precious to have done for you. I am blessed to have had this for all of my fifty nine years – we all are.

Special anniversary masses were said for everyone whether it be for wedding or death. The holy souls were prayed for continuously as were the living. His goodness shone through and his strictness meant everyone knew this man would only ever work for God – not man. This is a legacy I am proud to say he has passed on to me.

I too try to work for God if I can, but in a very different way to him and one my family don’t always approve of. This is because most of them haven’t a clue what I’m doing. I don’t discuss it with them much, as I know it is a subject matter most Christians shy away from. If they took the time to listen and look, maybe they would be pleasantly surprised what my work actually entails – at least I hope they would be.

It is my fervent wish my uncle will see what it is I do when he leaves this world and joins his Maker. Once he does, if my work is of God’s will, then there is no doubt in my mind uncle George will help me with it wherever he is able.

His work and life was devoted to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. For him to probably be leaving this world in May – the month of Our Lady would please him enormously. His prayer and devotion to her, as the mother of Jesus Christ, has been very devout. I am sure she will do all she can to offer him comfort and help him heal when he returns to his heavenly home.

He was born in the month of October, the month of the Holy Rosary. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary’s feast day is on the seventh of that month. It would seem he was not only born in a month with her feast day, but is to leave our world in the month devoted to Our Lady – May.

Miracle cures have been seen at the laying on of his hands. Prayers and masses he says always seemed to result in remissions and cures no one thought possible. Even his own health has resulted in the last Bishop calling him the miracle priest due to his survival. His own brother had three operations impossible to survive, yet survive them he did.

I too was seriously ill many years ago with a condition I still have that is incurable called Thrombocythaemia. The only treatment is chemotherapy. I had been ill for months and was getting worse. My uncle travelled down to my home and gave me the anointing of the sick. He prayed over me and gave me his special blessing. From that day my recovery commenced and no chemotherapy was ever required. My doctors too asked how I had done it. I told them prayers and mind over matter.

A baby in the special care baby unit seriously ill and so much more have all seen results of cures and survival where none was thought to be possible or little hope given. Adding it all up over the years, there are times when some of us should not have survived and I have no doubt prayer is what saved us. I also have no doubt my uncle is a miracle worker – no doubt at all.

God bless you Uncle George and may your passing and homecoming be as peaceful and full of the light you brought into the lives of so many. Thank you for all you have done for the family, me and all who knew you. I am honoured and blessed to have had someone such as you in my life. I can’t imagine life without you, but understand it is time for you to leave us in body if not in spirit. All I can do for you now is pray, just as you have for me all these years. My last gift to you is prayer from as many people worldwide as I can get to pray for you.

You will never be forgotten and your work will undoubtedly continue where you are going now. Your rewards will be plentiful and rich. They have been storing up waiting for you to go and receive them. The riches all of us should be striving for and that you are now to enjoy.

Into your hands oh Lord I commend his spirit. Lord Jesus receive his soul.

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