When we mark the passing of a brother dear to us, we often ask ourselves, what good is the life of a friar? Our four pillars of Dominican Life are Prayer, Study, Community Life, and Preaching. Most of the time we do well in these areas, but John excelled in all of these. Many people knew him as a man of prayer. He was also a novice master and a mentor. John continued to inquire, to be curious and read until the last days of his life. He valued the friendships he had with two communities, his Dominican brothers and sisters and his family. He wrote letters assessing and evaluating the Order with a keen eye. Former preaching professor, Fr. Jim Motl, O.P., said he considered John to be the best preacher in the Central Province. John considered every word to be a treasure and sought precision in his writing and preaching. If there was anything John was clear about in his life, it was that he knew God and he made God’s name known to others. Whether it was in his preaching, his teaching, his spiritual direction or pastoral care, when we were with John, we left knowing something more about who God was. His life was a gift incarnate in him, one of a beautiful word, beautiful speaking, and beautiful consolation. For the goodness in the life of John Gerlach, we give thanks to God.
– Contributed by Very Rev. Charles E. Bouchard, O.P.