That’s how a visitor who came to the country sometime after Fr Joseph’s death recorded his impressions:
“It was a Sunday afternoon at the mission of Roma, Lesotho. Our Christians, having shared a meal together under shade trees, were preparing to return to their villages. However, some went to visit to the tombs of their favourite saints, Father Joseph Gerard, their first missionary, and Bp Emmanuel ’Mabathoana, their first native bishop. From the grave of Father Gerard our Christians gathered up little pieces of soil and placed them carefully in small bags that hung from their necks. “Asking people about why they have such a great love for Fr. Gerard and Bishop Emmanuel ’Mabathoana, “you really don’t know?” they ask, “but surely you must realize that these two Oblates are our Fathers in the faith”. It struck me at the moment that the word “Fathers” was used by these Christians not simply out of habit but from a true sense of veneration and love.”
After Fr Joseph Gerard died he was described in this way: “Fr. Gérard was a man who, you might say, did not eat food but fed himself on prayer, and if prayer is something with which one can feed the people, then he has fed us too for a very long time”.
His favourite saying was: “THE WORLD BELONGS TO THE PERSON WHO LOVES IT MOST, AND PROVES IT” he did love his people and they saw his love for them in his committed service.
Let us pray:
God, Source of peace and giver of rain and abundance,
Who called Blessed Joseph Gerard, your priest,
To bring the light of the Gospel
To the peoples of Southern Africa;
Grant that through his intercession
We may share his love for the poor
And work for peace and reconciliation in the world.