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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Monthly Archives: July 2007
Wednesday

One of six children of Michael and Helen Breslin Gribbon, he was a native of Brooklyn, born Nov. 30, 1929. He was raised in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish and, after one year at Power Memorial High School, he applied to and was accepted at the Redemptorists’s St. Mary’s Seminary in North East, PA. He made his first profession of vows in 1951 and his final profession three years later. He completed his studies for the priesthood at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY, and was ordained to the priesthood June 17, 1956.

Father Gribbon’s first assignment was to Bella Vista, Paraguay, where he served for one year. From 1959-61, he was appointed to Pedro Juan Caballero and then, for the next two years, he taught at the seminary in Ponta Grossa. He returned to Pedro Juan Caballero in 1963, serving there until 1967.

Father Charles Brinkmann, a classmate who also served in Paraguay, noted that Father Gribbon was not a sportsman and his horse once returned to the stables at Esopus long before he did. "Let’s say, he was no Eddie Arcaro," Father Brinkmann said, referring to a famed jockey. "But he never shirked any work and he was always ready for campos trips by horseback."

In the seminary, Father Brinkmann was responsible for teaching Father Gribbon how to drive, but the latter was not his star pupil, having once tried to ford a river in Paraguay and gotten himself and his Jeep™ stuck in the middle until a team of oxen came to the rescue.

Father Karl Aschmann recalled those early days in Paraguay with Father Gribbon: "He could be very joyful, the life of the party. All you had to do to get him to start a songfest was to ask him for his favorite, ’On Top of Old Smoky.’" Father Brinkmann recalled some of the same experiences: "In the first years of our priesthood, he was a happy, fun guy, a great delight to be with."

Missionary life in the 1950s and ’60s was full of great challenges and few luxuries, but led to a great camaraderie, Father Aschmann said. "It was a life of trusting and pulling together and confrere filling in for confrere," he explained. Father Gribbon "did fine work for the poor and he was a good priest," he added.

Father Gribbon returned to the United States in 1967, assigned to teach Spanish to the seminarians at North East. In the fall of 1970, he was assigned to St. Boniface Church in Philadelphia and, two years later, he went as rector to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Seaford, DE. He served at Immaculate Conception Church in the Bronx in 1975-76.

In 1976, Father Gribbon joined the band of Redemptorists laboring in the Vice Province of Richmond, extending from Virginia down to Florida. He served in Tampa, FL, for 11 years and then in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA for three years. In 1991, he was assigned to Holy Family Retreat House in Hampton, VA. Father Brinkmann joined up again with his classmate in their work here. "He was great on retreats," Father Brinkmann said. "He found he liked the work and he was very good at it. The retreatants loved him and he was a terrific confessor, very patient and kind."

Physical infirmities began to set in, starting with a loss of hearing, and sickness "dampened his laughter and his spirits," Father Brinkmann said. "The hearing problem was hard on him because he could sit with people and be out of touch with what was going on. It was very depressing for him not to be in with everyone." Father Gribbon also developed diabetes, underwent knee replacements which did not turn out as well as expected, problems with his feet which necessitated the amputations of some toes, and loss of his sight.

Although his laughter disappeared, his faith did not. Father Brinkmann remembered one time at the retreat house when the two of them were preparing the sacristy for the next Mass. "He kissed each host as he counted them out and I asked him what that was all about," Father Brinkmann said. "He told me he wanted a kiss to be waiting for Jesus when the host became His Body. He had a tremendous love and reverence for the Eucharist." During retreats, he added, Father Gribbon would join the people in Eucharistic adoration and he always led them in praying the rosary and the Stations of the Cross.

In late 1997, Father Gribbon was transferred to Hapeville, GA; in 1999, in failing health, he was assigned to St. Alphonsus Villa in New Smyrna Beach, FL. "Even when he went to the Villa, people corresponded with him because he was very sympathetic and a good listener," said Father Brinkmann. Father Gribbon moved to St. John Neumann Residence in 2004.

One of his nephews, Father Michael Gribbon, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, said that he and his 18 cousins did not get to see much of their uncle because of his missionary work. "I do remember seeing him off on a boat with great admiration for how he was serving the poor and bringing them the Gospel. We all looked up to him," he said. Whenever the senior Father Gribbon did get home, there was always a big family gathering to welcome him, he added. Last year, the family gathered at Saratoga Springs to join in the Redemptorists’s annual jubilee celebration. "It was his 50th anniversary and it was great to honor him. It was a good time for the family, too, since it was also my 25th anniversary. It was wonderful to see my uncle, to know that even though he had had a stroke, he was still appreciated and valued by the Redemptorists."

In addition to the nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, Father Gribbon is survived by a sister, Regina Mooney, of Bellvale, NY. He is predeceased by his brothers John (Brother Xavier, C.SS.R.), Hugh and Michael, and a sister, Mary (Sister St. Jerome, C.S.J.).

Tuesday

Redemptorist Father Francis Freel, who served for a quarter of a century in Brazil and was Superior of the Vice Province of Campo Grande, died of cancer July 18 at St. John Neumann Residence in Saratoga Springs, NY. He was 87 years old.

A native of Valley Stream, Long Island, he was born April 26, 1920, the son of the late James and Anastasia Dillon Freel. He was baptized in Holy Name of Mary Parish; the family soon after moved to St. Raymond Parish in East Rockaway, Long Island, where he attended grammar school.

Following a year of public high school, Father Freel was accepted at the Redemptorists’ St. Mary’s Seminary in North East, PA, and continued his studies for the priesthood at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus. He made his first profession of vows in 1941 and his final profession three years later. He was ordained to the priesthood June 23, 1946.

As was the custom of the time, Father Freel and most of his classmates received their first assignments as missionaries in South America. From 1947 to 1950, Father Freel served in Ponta Pora, Brazil; then in Tibagi (1950-56), Aquidauana (1956-67), Campo Grande (1959-67) and Ponta Grossa (1967-72). He was rector in Aquidauana and Ponta Grossa and served as Vice-Provincial Superior during his years in Campo Grande.

Father James Small, who was in residence with Father Freel in Campo Grande, described his confrere as "a very dedicated person, very good in community, great at telling jokes, and very personable." In Father Small’s eyes, Father Freel had one flaw: "He was a tremendous Yankee fan – I’m from Boston!"

As a community man, Father Freel "was the kind of person who was always making sure things were working," according to Father John Hennessy, who served with him in Tibagi. He added that Father Freel organized the altar boys there and, having a good ear for music, also a group of choir boys. In 1972, Father Freel returned to the United States, serving in the Portuguese Apostolate at St. Boniface Church in Philadelphia from 1972-73. He then served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Manhattan for a year and at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus the following year. In 1975, he was named rector of St. Gregory Church in North East; in 1981, he became rector of St. Joseph Church in Odenton, MD; and in 1987, he was chosen as rector of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Manhattan.

"He was a good leader, as you can tell by his being named rector of a couple of places in Brazil and pastor and superior of three parishes up here. His communities liked him and he took care of the fellows," said Father Lawrence Lover. "Frank was also very good with young people because of being so athletic. He especially loved baseball and basketball and so all the school kids knew him."

Father Arthur Gildea, who knew Father Freel both from North East and from Saratoga Springs, said, "He was a great pastor, very good with people, very caring. He also loved having surprise birthday parties – for himself!"

Father Freel was appointed to San Alfonso Retreat House in 1998 and to St. John Neumann Residence in 2000. Father Gildea said he was always happy to celebrate Mass with the confreres at Saratoga Springs and "was a positive influence on the community."

Father Freel’s appreciation for sports was undiminished to the end. "I just hope he wasn’t too disappointed when he walked up in his Yankee cap and found out St. Peter is a Mets fan," Father Gildea said.

Father Freel is survived by a brother, Donald Freel, of New York; a sister, Pat Champeau, of Spring Lake Heights, NJ; and about two dozen nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

Thursday

One of six children of Michael and Helen Breslin Gribbon, he was a native of Brooklyn, born Nov. 30, 1929. He was raised in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish and, after one year at Power Memorial High School, he applied to and was accepted at the Redemptorists’s St. Mary’s Seminary in North East, PA. He made his first profession of vows in 1951 and his final profession three years later. He completed his studies for the priesthood at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus, NY, and was ordained to the priesthood June 17, 1956.

Father Gribbon’s first assignment was to Bella Vista, Paraguay, where he served for one year. From 1959-61, he was appointed to Pedro Juan Caballero and then, for the next two years, he taught at the seminary in Ponta Grossa. He returned to Pedro Juan Caballero in 1963, serving there until 1967.

Father Charles Brinkmann, a classmate who also served in Paraguay, noted that Father Gribbon was not a sportsman and his horse once returned to the stables at Esopus long before he did. "Let’s say, he was no Eddie Arcaro," Father Brinkmann said, referring to a famed jockey. "But he never shirked any work and he was always ready for campos trips by horseback."

In the seminary, Father Brinkmann was responsible for teaching Father Gribbon how to drive, but the latter was not his star pupil, having once tried to ford a river in Paraguay and gotten himself and his Jeep™ stuck in the middle until a team of oxen came to the rescue.

Father Karl Aschmann recalled those early days in Paraguay with Father Gribbon: "He could be very joyful, the life of the party. All you had to do to get him to start a songfest was to ask him for his favorite, ’On Top of Old Smoky.’" Father Brinkmann recalled some of the same experiences: "In the first years of our priesthood, he was a happy, fun guy, a great delight to be with."

Missionary life in the 1950s and ’60s was full of great challenges and few luxuries, but led to a great camaraderie, Father Aschmann said. "It was a life of trusting and pulling together and confrere filling in for confrere," he explained. Father Gribbon "did fine work for the poor and he was a good priest," he added.

Father Gribbon returned to the United States in 1967, assigned to teach Spanish to the seminarians at North East. In the fall of 1970, he was assigned to St. Boniface Church in Philadelphia and, two years later, he went as rector to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Seaford, DE. He served at Immaculate Conception Church in the Bronx in 1975-76.

In 1976, Father Gribbon joined the band of Redemptorists laboring in the Vice Province of Richmond, extending from Virginia down to Florida. He served in Tampa, FL, for 11 years and then in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA for three years. In 1991, he was assigned to Holy Family Retreat House in Hampton, VA. Father Brinkmann joined up again with his classmate in their work here. "He was great on retreats," Father Brinkmann said. "He found he liked the work and he was very good at it. The retreatants loved him and he was a terrific confessor, very patient and kind."

Physical infirmities began to set in, starting with a loss of hearing, and sickness "dampened his laughter and his spirits," Father Brinkmann said. "The hearing problem was hard on him because he could sit with people and be out of touch with what was going on. It was very depressing for him not to be in with everyone." Father Gribbon also developed diabetes, underwent knee replacements which did not turn out as well as expected, problems with his feet which necessitated the amputations of some toes, and loss of his sight.

Although his laughter disappeared, his faith did not. Father Brinkmann remembered one time at the retreat house when the two of them were preparing the sacristy for the next Mass. "He kissed each host as he counted them out and I asked him what that was all about," Father Brinkmann said. "He told me he wanted a kiss to be waiting for Jesus when the host became His Body. He had a tremendous love and reverence for the Eucharist." During retreats, he added, Father Gribbon would join the people in Eucharistic adoration and he always led them in praying the rosary and the Stations of the Cross.

In late 1997, Father Gribbon was transferred to Hapeville, GA; in 1999, in failing health, he was assigned to St. Alphonsus Villa in New Smyrna Beach, FL. "Even when he went to the Villa, people corresponded with him because he was very sympathetic and a good listener," said Father Brinkmann. Father Gribbon moved to St. John Neumann Residence in 2004.

One of his nephews, Father Michael Gribbon, a priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn, said that he and his 18 cousins did not get to see much of their uncle because of his missionary work. "I do remember seeing him off on a boat with great admiration for how he was serving the poor and bringing them the Gospel. We all looked up to him," he said. Whenever the senior Father Gribbon did get home, there was always a big family gathering to welcome him, he added. Last year, the family gathered at Saratoga Springs to join in the Redemptorists’s annual jubilee celebration. "It was his 50th anniversary and it was great to honor him. It was a good time for the family, too, since it was also my 25th anniversary. It was wonderful to see my uncle, to know that even though he had had a stroke, he was still appreciated and valued by the Redemptorists."

In addition to the nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, Father Gribbon is survived by a sister, Regina Mooney, of Bellvale, NY. He is predeceased by his brothers John (Brother Xavier, C.SS.R.), Hugh and Michael, and a sister, Mary (Sister St. Jerome, C.S.J.).

 

Rev. Joseph Gribbon C.Ss.R.

  • Born: November 30, 1929
  • Professed: August 2, 1951
  • Ordained: June 17, 1956
  • Died: July 19, 2007

 

Services

Wednesday

Redemptorist Father Francis Freel, who served for a quarter of a century in Brazil and was Superior of the Vice Province of Campo Grande, died of cancer July 18 at St. John Neumann Residence in Saratoga Springs, NY. He was 87 years old.

A native of Valley Stream, Long Island, he was born April 26, 1920, the son of the late James and Anastasia Dillon Freel. He was baptized in Holy Name of Mary Parish; the family soon after moved to St. Raymond Parish in East Rockaway, Long Island, where he attended grammar school.

Following a year of public high school, Father Freel was accepted at the Redemptorists’ St. Mary’s Seminary in North East, PA, and continued his studies for the priesthood at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus. He made his first profession of vows in 1941 and his final profession three years later. He was ordained to the priesthood June 23, 1946.

As was the custom of the time, Father Freel and most of his classmates received their first assignments as missionaries in South America. From 1947 to 1950, Father Freel served in Ponta Pora, Brazil; then in Tibagi (1950-56), Aquidauana (1956-67), Campo Grande (1959-67) and Ponta Grossa (1967-72). He was rector in Aquidauana and Ponta Grossa and served as Vice-Provincial Superior during his years in Campo Grande.

Father James Small, who was in residence with Father Freel in Campo Grande, described his confrere as "a very dedicated person, very good in community, great at telling jokes, and very personable." In Father Small’s eyes, Father Freel had one flaw: "He was a tremendous Yankee fan – I’m from Boston!"

As a community man, Father Freel "was the kind of person who was always making sure things were working," according to Father John Hennessy, who served with him in Tibagi. He added that Father Freel organized the altar boys there and, having a good ear for music, also a group of choir boys. In 1972, Father Freel returned to the United States, serving in the Portuguese Apostolate at St. Boniface Church in Philadelphia from 1972-73. He then served at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Manhattan for a year and at Mount St. Alphonsus in Esopus the following year. In 1975, he was named rector of St. Gregory Church in North East; in 1981, he became rector of St. Joseph Church in Odenton, MD; and in 1987, he was chosen as rector of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Manhattan.

"He was a good leader, as you can tell by his being named rector of a couple of places in Brazil and pastor and superior of three parishes up here. His communities liked him and he took care of the fellows," said Father Lawrence Lover. "Frank was also very good with young people because of being so athletic. He especially loved baseball and basketball and so all the school kids knew him."

Father Arthur Gildea, who knew Father Freel both from North East and from Saratoga Springs, said, "He was a great pastor, very good with people, very caring. He also loved having surprise birthday parties – for himself!"

Father Freel was appointed to San Alfonso Retreat House in 1998 and to St. John Neumann Residence in 2000. Father Gildea said he was always happy to celebrate Mass with the confreres at Saratoga Springs and "was a positive influence on the community."

Father Freel’s appreciation for sports was undiminished to the end. "I just hope he wasn’t too disappointed when he walked up in his Yankee cap and found out St. Peter is a Mets fan," Father Gildea said.

Father Freel is survived by a brother, Donald Freel, of New York; a sister, Pat Champeau, of Spring Lake Heights, NJ; and about two dozen nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

 

Rev. Francis Freel C.Ss.R.

  • Born: April 26, 1920
  • Professed: August 2, 1941
  • Ordained: June 23, 1946
  • Died: July 18, 2007

 

Services

Wednesday

Redemptorist Jubilarians Honored at Special Mass
St. Clement Church Saratoga Springs, NY July 11, 2007

Homily by Fr. John McGowan, C.Ss.R. for the jubilee celebration

 

65th profession

James Lundy
Francis Sands
Ray McCarthy
Edwin Foley
John Barry

60th ordination

James Mallen
James Lundy
Philip Cabasino
Francis Sands
Ray McCarthy
Edwin Foley

60th profession

Robert Hopwood
Joseph Adamec

50th ordination

Robert Cheesman
Russell Abata
Robert Lennon
Thomas Loftus
Charles Vermeulen

50th profession

Francis Poux
Paul Miller
Thomas Schmidt
Francis O’Rourke
Carlyle Blake
Stephen Vanyo
John McGowan
Thomas Travers
Francis Alfone

40th ordination

Antonio Hernández
Carlos Valles
Alfeo Prandel
Gerard Campbell
John Harrison
Kevin Milton
Thomas Barrett
Arthur Gildea

40th profession

Ranulfo Verón
Angelo Sánchez
Philip Andrews

35th ordination

Eugene S. Daigle
Charles Donovan
James W. Gilmour
Francis G. Skelly
Thomas G. Sullivan

35th profession

Christopher Walsh
Michael D. Sergi

25th ordination

A. Michael Koncik
Terrence Moran
Marcos Mont´Serrat

25th profession

Paul Borowski
Alfred Bradley
Kenneth Gaddy
Thomas Kuhn
Sean McGillicuddy