February 18, 1982 – April 6, 1982
The following is a reprint of the words spoken at the funeral service held for Gregory Charles Woehrle at the Church of the Annunciation Episcopal Church in Oradell, New Jersey, on April 10, 1982. The words were spoken by Fr. George C. Allen, II, Gregory’s priest and friend. When asked about the origin of the poignant, powerful words spoken on that day thirty years ago, Fr. Allen replied, “I simply held the pen – the words were given to me.” I share the words of Gregory’s Homily with the world this day – because the world needs to hear them!
I doubt there is one of us here who wouldn’t given up everything we have, everything we own, everything we possess to change the circumstances of this day.
Some of us are mad and frustrated by the iniquity of life; for some of us the burden is almost too much to bear; but all of us – each of us – is deeply moved by the life and life of a very special child of God.
So it is good that we are here today.
It is not an easy day – but it is a good day. And even if we are angry or mad, or just plain hurt clear down to our bones, it is OK God can handle those things.
What God wants us to hear – really hear – with our ears and and with our hearts – is that death is not the end. We will die to these bodies we walk around in, but we will live forever in more glorious bodies in more glorious surroundings.
It is to give thanks for that reality for Gregory… and for ourselves someday that we gather here.
For you see, human beings do not belong to one another. We are God’s children. We belong to Him. It is by sheer grace that we are together for a time – even for only a little while.
Gregory Woehrle was a gift, one of God’s own children.
And, for a time, God gave Gregory to the world, in order that two human being might have a child. In order that all of us who cared deeply for him might be brought close to one another.
And because of Gregory, the world understands more fully the greatness of love and courage and bravery.
We have this thing about judging the value and quality of life by using arbitrary yardsticks like “how long did he live?” Gregory Woehrle touched more lives and more hearts than anyone who ever lived 100 times longer than he.
For all his courage and stamina are examples to us all. He has taught many of us to separate the unimportant from the important.
His life was a great an special gift to us.
And because of his life, we will never be the same again.
We will be better people for having had him. We will be better people for recognizing that God loved the world so much that He gave it Gregory.
We are sad now because he is dead. And we know the pain and the emptiness and the heartbreak all too well.
But God and time will heal our hearts and will make us thankful and fill us with fond, good memories of a very special little boy.
Jesus said, “You now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one may take away from you.”
So we are here to offer Gregory back to God, and to give Him thanks for his life.
In so doing, we are offering ourselves. We are here to boldly say, “Our Father,” and to pray “Your will be done.”
We are here to trust God, and to love Him and to realize how much He loves us.
We are here to say – albeit reluctantly – that You O God, must have a greater need for his presence in your Cherub Choir than we.
We are not here to say goodbye, but that we will see you again, at another time and on another shore.
And while we will not have you present with us physically, we will always have you with us in our hearts.
God now has hold of Gregory’s hand – and He will never let go.
Thank you God, for Gregory. Gregory, we love you.