Captain Edmund Philip Gabriel was 84 years old He had 6 children, 23 grandchildren, and 30 great-grandchildren. Read that again, 30 Great-Grandchildren! WOW! 2 more on the way by the way!
I did not know my Uncle Phil all that well. For most of my life they lived in Panama and then Florida. But he lived an amazing life of family and faith. He was the captain of tanker ships, the really big ones, then he worked on the Panama Canal. He was away from his family for long stretches of time, but he loved them all.
I emailed the pastor of his church and he told me what a man of faith he was. His and my Aunt Betty were at Mass almost everyday and Uncle Phil served as a lector and Eucharistic Minister. I think he sang from time to time as well.
In the last days of his life he entered hospice, a wonderful way to go if you ask me. It was his faith and the love of his family that got him through.
Tomorrow at Liturgy I will serve the Parastas for my Uncle Phil and add him to the list I keep on the Altar of those I know who have passed. At the end of the Liturgy we say these words:
O God of all spirits and of all bodies, who trampled down death and overcame the devil and bestowed life on your world, yourself, O Lord, rest the soul of your servant Edmund who has fallen asleep, in a place of light, in a place of green pastures, in a place of rest from where pain, sorrow and sighing have been driven away. Forgive him every transgression committed in word, in deed, or in thought, for you are good, O God, and the lover of mankind. For there is no man born who does not transgress and you alone are without sin, your righteousness is everlasting and your word is true.
Grant eternal repose in blessed sleep, O Lord to the soul of your servant, who has fallen asleep and make his memory eternal!