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Br. Gabriel Bridges, C.PP.S., 82, died at 9:30 p.m. on Monday, September 29, 2014, at St. Charles Center, Carthagena, Ohio. He had been in declining health.
Br. Gabriel was born in Cincinnati on June 6, 1932, the only child of Arthur and Betty Bridges. He was professed on July 1, 1952, at St. Charles Seminary, Carthagena, Ohio.
Br. Gabriel had a variety of ministries in his years as a brother. After his profession he was the assistant to the rector at St. Charles then was sent to Rome to assist in the C.PP.S. Generalate there. In 1959 he returned to the United States and went to work for Messenger Press, then owned by the Congregation. He later served at Brunnerdale, the Congregation's high school seminary in Canton, Ohio, and at St. Charles.
In 1969 he was assigned to parish ministry, and then served at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Ottawa, Ohio; and St. John the Baptist Church in Glandorf, Ohio. Other parish ministry assignments included St. Joseph Church in East Jordan, Mich., and St. George Church in Aurora, Ill. He also ministered to young people through religious education programs at Holy Redeemer Parish in New Bremen, Ohio; St. Joseph Church in Wapakoneta, Ohio; and St. John the Baptist Church in Whiting, Ind.
In 1993, Br. Gabriel was assigned to Calumet College of St. Joseph, which is sponsored by the Missionaries. In later years, he was also in ministry at the Missionaries' Sorrowful Mother Shrine in Bellevue, Ohio.
In 2007, he retired to St. Charles Center.
Br. Gabriel was a man of many talents. He was an excellent storyteller with a keen eye for detail, and a straight-shooter who was not afraid to speak truth to power. He had a deep love for his Community and his vocation as a religious brother. He was a natural teacher. Whether in a classroom or in a less formal setting, he easily commanded a room, drawing all in with his wry insights and observations.
He was "a strength for us (religious) brothers over the years," said Br. Ben Basile, C.PP.S., who ministered with Br. Gabriel at Calumet College of St. Joseph. Br. Gabriel served as mentor and guide "as the brothers developed as a group within the Community. Along with Br. Gerard Von Hagel, C.PP.S., he forged a path for younger brothers, and we benefited from what they had done. Though he never had a formal position in our formation program, he certainly helped to form us."
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 2 p.m. on Friday, October 3, 2014, at St. Charles Center, with the Rev. Larry Hemmelgarn, C.PP.S., officiating. Fr. James Seibert, C.PP.S., will be the homilist. Burial will follow in the Community cemetery.
Calling hours will be held at St. Charles on Thursday, October 2, from 1-5 and 7-9 p.m., with a prayer service at 7 p.m.