BUILDING BRIDGES Across the Fox River and Beyond!

Have you noticed that travel is moving much, much slower on DePere's Claude Allouez Bridge? Not just because of the obvious construction taking place over the Fox River, but there's a bit of a "gaper's block," to coin a Chicago phrase, taking place on the bridge. Everyone who crosses the bridge seems to look south to see what's up on the new bridge's progress.

Such was the case as I was headed back to the college on Tuesday afternoon, making my way to the priory after my Fox River Trail therapy. At 4:30 in the afternoon, I encountered my Norbertine brother, Father Gery Meehan, O. Praem., walking the bridge headed home for 5:00 PM Evening Prayer.

Father Gery has walked the streets of DePere for years now, making his way to St. Mary's for a quarter of a century for sacramental assistance at our neighboring parish; headed to the Abbey for Canonry business; and in recent years, walking over 4 miles to St. Wille's for bilingual Masses at our downtown church. On Tuesday afternoon, Gery was a bit loaded down, carrying a nice-sized package, all wrapped up with a fancy bow to top off the gift. Driving past Gery, I felt like a contestant on Let's Make a Deal, wondering what Father Monte Hall had wrapped up in that impressive looking package. Given Gery's many friends that he has cultivated in the high school and parish apostolates over the years, I could not help but wonder if someone was giving Gery a token of their appreciation for any number of cool things Gery does for so many. And while the faithful of DePere / Green Bay have been so generous to Gery over the years -- especially his students -- I am sure the gift was purchased by Gery for some unsuspecting person whom Gery would eventually surprise with his characteristic generosity.

Father Gery Meehan, O. Praem. is a true giver. He never takes; in fact he is quite uncomfortable and even embarrassed in doing so. But he is the first to give. Over these past 20 years since I've been in the Order, I've become very aware of how Gery gives of his time, talent and meager religious income to make someone else feel noticed, special, loved.

As I crossed the bridge during Tuesday's rush hour, I felt a deep since of pride seeing him in his characteristic simplicity, walking the Claude Allouez Bridge with what I am sure was an out-going package that would eventually make someone's day a bit more special. We priest's have suffered a bit of a hit over the years given the bad press we have received in light of the sexual abuse scandals. Yes, we need to be accountable for our offenses and take responsibility for such actions. But in our understandable anger, we sometimes fail to notice the good that is exercised by many good priests, Norbertines included! The scene on the bridge yesterday was a reminder of those good men who knock themselves out doing good for others. Gery embodies such goodness; he reminds me what I learned as a young boy watching out-dated Westerns, "Good guys wear white!" Gery does that not only in word, but in his generous, self-emptying action aimed at others as well. "God's flock is in our midst." You can be assured that Father Gery Meehan, O. Praem. and many of his brothers will do their best to, "Give it a shepherd's care!"

Yours in the Bond,

Father James Baraniak, O. Praem.


Anonymous said... I read your very kind tribute to Fr. Gery Meehan I was struck that if someone were to write a similar tribute to you, they would have to include all of the things you say about Fr. Gery.

While I personally don't know Fr. Gery, I certainly know of him....and have heard many kind things about him.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.