Jerry was a companion who over the years became a friend, confidant and brother with whom I shared a deep level of trust and love. My mother referred to him as her third son and my sister treated him like a brother. Our friendship of 45 years began and deepened during our formation. Those were years of some studying besides the usual mischief and sharing. Every night a cup of coffee lasted for over an hour of bakwas. We’d share about everything – community living, relationships, plan our musti for the next days, our ministries and also our studies.
At Holy Family Parish, the people Jerry worked with felt respected and valued because they received much from him through his gentle yet firm ways. He had a way of winning over people. It was the same at Seva Niketan where he gave CLC members from all over India practical applications of the Spiritual Exercises. Getting a Master’s in Pastoral Counselling at Loyola University, Chicago opened up a new resource in him. It was a delight when he would share how he had helped people through psycho-spiritual accompaniment to engage in their inner healing and to grow into freer and happier persons. He continued the same ministry in St. Pius X Seminary, Goregaon.
Jerry had a gift which used to draw people to him for help. That skill was his capacity for “empathy” – the ability to ‘feel’ what his counselees were going through and to mirror it back to them so they would gradually get rid of those emotions and go away feeling lighter, experiencing the loving peaceful presence of God within them.
Spending time with Jerry during his final days was a gift for me. I was able to hear and see his suffering in its various forms. When he died, I was startled at first with the news but later felt a quiet joy because his suffering had ended, and he had entered the afterlife.
- Dudley Mendonca, SJ