The Healing Gospel Message in Haiti of Richard Frechette, Essay #2

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The Healing Gospel Message in Haiti of Passionist Father and Medical Doctor Richard Frechette
Essay Two: Haiti 2010 Earthquake: January 21-26, 2010

Compiled by Father Rob Carbonneau, C.P., Ph.D. Historian and Director of the Passionist Historical Archives
January 26, 2010

One: A Mournful Blessing, Father Rick is able to be with his family in Connecticut when his mother dies.

Even with the devastation of Haiti, so many people were keeping in mind the health of the mother of Father Rick Frechette and his family. On January 21, 2010 this sensitive and powerful faith-filled email was sent out by Father Richard Frechette.

Hello Dear Friends,

These words are from an Italian song, it means more or less: Now I am holding the one who cannot feel me hold her.

These words are strong for me now that my mother has died.

Hearing desperation in my fathers voice yesterday on the phone that my mother needed me in order to die in peace,

I drove all night last night from Haiti to the Dominican Republic arriving there today at 5 AM thanks to Kieran and his team, and thanks to Vern and Mary Sue Conaway I flew to Connecticut, arriving at 1 PM today.

All six of us children, together with my father sat at my mother’s bed and talked and shared stories about life and death.

She was already far away, but listening I am sure.

We then we had the mass together at the bed-side and during the very consecration my mother died, surrounded by all of us when I said, “This is my body, given up for you.”

I thank all of you who have shared the last eight months with us. I thank you for your solidarity and prayers.

I had thought I had lost my chance to be with mom at the holy moment of death after spending days burying so many victims of the earthquake in Haiti since January 13th and caring for the desperately wounded.

Join me in thanking God for my mom’s life and death. I thank you for all your concern and prayers for the tragedy in Haiti we are doing our best to face.

After my mothers funeral on Thursday, I will be ready to rejoin forces with all those doing our strong work in Haiti to continue help relieve the suffering there.

May God bless you,

Fr Rick Frechette

Details for the funeral were as follows:

FRECHETTE, Geraldine (Grisel)  Geraldine “Gerrie” (Grisel) Frechette, 79, of Wethersfield, beloved wife of Leo P. Frechette, passed away peacefully with grace and dignity on Monday (January 18, 2010) at her home, with her husband and children by her bedside. She passed during the Consecration of the Eucharist by her son, Father Rick. Born August 11, 1930, in Hartford, she was the daughter of the late William and Theresa (Olshefski) Grisel. She resided in the Hartford area all her life. Gerrie was affectionately known as “The Carrot Lady” at her son’s Horse Farm. In addition to her husband, Leo, Gerrie will be fondly remembered by her loving family; four sons, Rev. L. Richard Frechette, CP, DO of Haiti, Steven Frechette and his wife, Dawn Frechette, of Wethersfield, Kevin Frechette and his fiancé, Dawn Parker, of Old Saybrook, and Keith Frechette of Wethersfield; two daughters, Terri Frechette-Brainerd and her husband, Bob Brainerd, of Ivoryton, and Donna Camera and her husband, Ken Camera, of Manchester; thirteen grandchildren, Greg Andrews, Kristy Richards, Mike Helming, Stacey Helming, Lisa Fanelli, Nick Frechette, Shane Frechette, Luke Frechette, K.J. Camera, Brittany Camera, Samantha Frechette, Ritchie Frechette, and Christopher Frechette; four great grandchildren, Jacqui, Heather, and Seth Andrews, and Maya Fanelli. She was predeceased by her brother and sister, William Grisel, and Bobbie (Grisel) Hoar. Funeral procession will commence at 10:15 a.m., Thursday, January 21, from the Farley-Sullivan Funeral Home, 34 Beaver Rd., Wethersfield, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m., at Corpus Christi Church, 601 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield. Interment will be in the family plot in Rose Hill Memorial Park (Section 31), 580 Elm St., Rocky Hill. Gerrie’s family will receive relatives and friends at the Funeral Home, Wednesday, January 20, from 5-7 p.m. The Frechette family requests in lieu of flowers, that memorial donations be made to in support of Father Rick’s Mission in Haiti. To send online expressions of sympathy or for further information, please visit
Published in Hartford Courant on January 20, 2010

Two: A Personal Reflection by Father Rob who attended the funeral of Gerri Frechette

As one who grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut with Father Rick Frechette, I knew his family and parents. Rick’s father Leo is still alive and I remember seeing Gerri Frechette working at Sears at Corbin’s Corner, West Hartford. I only wish to state that there was a grace experienced by all who attended the funeral of Gerri Frechette. All of us listened with an open heart to the preaching of Father Rick about his mother. He spoke of her strong faith, care and sensitivity. Most compelling was his perspective on how she had the faith and context to prepare for her death while the people of Haiti had four seconds. Still both, and in fact all of us struggle to understand and accept what Father Rick calls the “mysterious ways of God.” Passionist Bishop Neil Tiedemann of Mandeville, Jamaica, West Indies presided and there were numerous Passionists and diocesan and religious and deacons and laity present. The music was directed by Passionist Father David Cinquegrani and choir at Holy Family Passionist Retreat. All present were moved by the homily of Father Rick and the family reflection of Donna Frechette and a poem by Steve Frechette.

Three: CNN January 18, 2010 News Coverage: Even as Father Rick and all people were concerned about his mother Gerri, that sense of sorrow for her and prayers for her had to be balanced with the people of Haiti.

Who can ignore Haiti now?

By Diane Lane, Special to CNN

Four: Father Rick Frechette and his efforts in Port-au-Prince were described in the following story from the January 20, 2010 Naples News, Naples, Florida.

Mission to Haiti Blog: Broken ribs don’t slow down Sister Judy

By Matt Clark

Originally published 12:03 p.m., January 20, 2010

Five: Father Rick Frechette has a relationship to Baltimore since 1979.

After his ordination in 1979 Father Rick Frechette was assigned to the Passionist community in Baltimore where he developed relationships that have continued into 2010 and Haiti. The following story was published in The Catholic Review of Baltimore, Maryland on January 21, 2010

Haiti relief includes priest, nun with local ties

By Paul McMullen

Six: On January 21, 2010 The Mayo News, Dublin, Ireland had coverage on the Haiti Earthquake and Father Frechette.

He was mentioned because he is on the medical staff of St. Damien’s Hospital which is operated by Nos Petits Freres et Soeurs (Our Little Brothers and Sisters.) This shows the international link to the Haiti relief efforts.

Extended RTÉ news programme to feature Gena Heraty

Thursday, 21 January 2010 17:31

Seven: Fellow Passionist Father Edward Beck reflected on the Haiti situation.

This was done on a segment with ABC TV Good Morning America Spirituality Page, Updated 1/22/2010, Father Edward Beck

New Moment of Faith: Haiti: How Can I Keep From Singing? (2 min. video)

Eight: This was more news from Minnesota. It was from St. Kate’s News, Minneapolis

St. Kate’s helps find new life for old computers

By Pauline Oo
Jan. 21, 2010

Nine: This news came from St. Paul, Minnesota.

River Garden Yoga Center is organizing a fundraising drive for victims of the Haiti earthquake.

When tragedy strikes, as it did in Haiti, it is typically our first impulse to reach out and help. River Garden Yoga Center is taking a proactive step and organizing a fundraising drive for the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Having worked in Haiti several years ago I have a familiar knowledge of the country and its people. While there, I spent time with Fr. Richard Frechette, a priest, medical doctor and founder of Saint Damien Hospital. “Fr. Rick” is also the associate director of Friends of the Orphans in Haiti.

River Garden Yoga Center will be sponsoring an event on January 31, 2010 and our teachers will be offering free yoga classes and encouraging people to make a donation—the proceeds of which will go to St. Damien Hospital and Friends of the Orphans.

If you are unable to attend our event, or want to do something immediately – Please donate online using the button on the right.
Anything you can do, no matter how small or large, will be most helpful and appreciated.

Jeffrey Austin, Director RiverGarden Yoga Center
455 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN, 55102, 651-292-1166
And the teachers of
River Garden Yoga Center
Source of article

Ten: This story was from the Idaho Statesman

Woodward: Want to help Haiti? Help father Rick at St. Damien hospital

BY Tim Woodward – Idaho Statesman
January 24, 2010

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