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OBITUARY | Father Gerard LaPorte, CSsR

Fr. LaPorte
A funeral Mass for Father Gerard “Gerry” LaPorte, CSsR, was celebrated on May 25 at the St. Clement Mission Community in Barnhart. Father Gerry died May 17 after suffering a heart attack at Mercy Hospital South in St. Louis.

Blessed with a brilliant mind and a quick wit, Father Gerry was an exceptional preacher, pastor and canon lawyer who served in ministry for more than five decades and was a beloved mentor to generations of Redemptorist missionaries.

Gerard Bernard was born to Arthur and Carmelite (Abadie) LaPorte on Jan. 28, 1939, in New Orleans. He and his siblings grew up around the Redemptorists at St. Alphonsus Parish, and their uncle, Alphonse Abadie, was ordained as a Redemptorist priest in 1942.

After graduating from St. Alphonsus School, Gerry entered St. Joseph’s Preparatory Seminary in Kirkwood. An exceptional student with real leadership skills, he was quite popular and a source of entertainment for his classmates, who enjoyed his wit and antics.

He proceeded to novitiate at Mount St. Clement’s in De Soto and professed temporary vows on Aug. 2, 1960. While completing theological studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, he shared his musical gifts as a member of The Collarmen, a talented seminarian music ministry that recorded albums under the Cuca Records label.

He professed perpetual vows on Sept. 2, 1963, and “fulfilled a dream” when he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas William Murphy, CSsR, at Immaculate Conception Seminary Chapel on June 29, 1965.

Father Gerry was sent to study for a master’s degree in canon law at the Angelicum in Rome. He returned to the United States with his degree in 1968 and was appointed to the faculty of Mount St. Alphonsus Redemptorist Theologate in Esopus, New York. In addition to canon law, he served in the Liturgy and Comparative Religion Departments and was director of The Collarmen seminarian music ministry outreach.

Father Gerry was named assistant pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1972. He thoroughly enjoyed pastoral ministry and was instrumental in helping the Diocese of Corpus Christi reorganize its Matrimonial Tribunal. Three years later, he was appointed pastor of Holy Rosary Church and superior of the local community in Houma, Louisiana. During the next six years, he helped the Diocese of Houma–Thibodaux organize a Marriage Preparation Program and served as a Matrimonial Tribunal Judge and as a member of the Arbitration Board.

Father Gerry was elected to serve as a consultor on the Vice Provincial Council in 1981. While serving in leadership during the next six years, he also served as local community superior, vocation director and bursar and was involved in ministry planning. He served as rector and director of Holy Redeemer in Lacombe, Lousiana, during the 1986-1987 school term, then returned to parish ministry at St. Alphonsus Parish in New Orleans, where he remained for the next 35 years.

Father Gerry was involved in many outreach ministries serving people in need, including Beginning Experience and Caring Companions. He served on the Matrimonial Tribunal and as an Appellate Judge for the Archdiocese of New Orleans and as a chaplain for PEACE (Eucharistic Adoration Chapels). He volunteered for the Family Life Apostolate and earned a master’s in education in counseling from the University of New Orleans in 1994 at the age of 55.

A compassionate confessor and spiritual director, Father Gerry was an insightful counselor for all who sought his wisdom. Although he was granted retirement status in 2009, he continued to preside at funerals for the faithful in New Orleans until health issues necessitated his move to St. Clement’s Redemptorist Mission Community in Barnhart in 2022. He was a valued member of that community until he died.

Burial was in the Redemptorist Cemetery.

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OBITUARY Father Gerard LaPorte CSsR 9650

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