Unification News for January 1995


In Memorium Jean-Pierre Gabriel

As some of you already know, we have to announce the ascension of our dear brother Jean-Pierre Gabriel to the Spirit World. This tragedy took place on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 1994, between 8:30 and 9:00 pm in the city of Antony, near Paris.

This is a brief history of his life and the tragic circumstances under which he died.

Jean-Pierre Gabriel was born in 1952, in the southwest of France. His father was a famous poet and novelist who recently passed away. After commencing his studies in architecture in Bordeaux, Jean-Pierre Gabriel met the church there and joined in Sept. 1972. He participated in the IOWC through the USA, Japan and Korea during the seventies, and when he returned to France always had missions connected to publications and PR work. Jean-Pierre wrote dozens of editorials which inspired the members and many of our friends. On July 1, 1982 he was blessed with a Canadian sister, Myrna, who was then a top fund-raiser in America. After spending some time in Latin America working for CAUSA (he was fluent in Spanish and English), he became one of the key persons in the establishment of CAUSA in France, assuming the direction of the CAUSA magazine for three years. During all these years, Jean-Pierre wrote several books for the movement. IN 1988, he became more and more involved with the political activity of Pierre Ceyrac, but after the decline of our political commitments, he started to work as a speechwriter for many conservative politicians. In 1993, he received the mission of pastor for the Paris region. Later during this year he was given the mission of Education Department leader.

For the movement he wrote two books: an introduction to the Divine Principle, and a book on the spiritual mission of France. He also wrote many articles for outside publications in France, USA and Japan. Often defining himself as a "workaholic", he was nevertheless a religious person with eight spiritual children dedicated to our church, a very respected pastor in his region whose sermons deeply inspired brothers and sisters. Jean-Pierre had many friends outside the movement and was definitely a very public person. We also discover now that his couple and small family (only one child) are probably among his greatest accomplishments.

We all feel, however, that Jean-Pierre's main accomplishment was something more internal: he had a deep initial understanding of the Principle and had kept studying the truth and teaching it over the years. He kept a very pure faith throughout his church life. Whenever we remember him, the adjectives "good" and "pure" are the most commonly used. This means that Jean-Pierre was not just somebody whom we admired or respected very much, but he was fundamentally a brother whom we deeply loved for his kindness, total humility and sense of humor. We all remember him as a person who never argued with others. This brotherly heart is what we all miss so much now.

During the last week, after he returned from a workshop in Germany with other Education Department leaders in Europe, his wife noticed a deep change in his behavior. He prayed a lot with many tears, which was quite unusual for him, expressing deep repentance for his own life as well as for our church and nation. Myrna said that her husband was almost obsessed by the salvation of France, and was sleeping just two or three hours every day. He was constantly praying for some brothers and sisters, with a desperate heart to help them. Myrna was so amazed by the change in her husband that she said: "Jean-Pierre, I feel God is preparing you for an important mission." He himself declared that he was so surprised by what happened to him. The real circumstances of his death remain mysterious. On Dec. 6 at 7pm, he went to visit a blessed coupled in the city of Antony. He could not find the way and parked his car somewhere. He then said to Myrna that he would go to look for a telephone and make a call. He never came back. Myrna started to worry and phoned to the blessed couple he was to visit. They then started to search everywhere for Jean-Pierre. After a few minutes, they finally saw an ambulance and a few police cars. They then started to fear the worst. Jean-Pierre's body was found lying on the street, already wrapped in a sack. After describing the clothes Jean-Pierre was wearing, the police let them see the body, which was very severely wounded. It was our unfortunate brother. It is extremely difficult to know exactly what had happened. The official statement is that he was hit by at least one truck.

The French family is still in shock. We all loved and are missing our brother very much. Yet we want to offer his sacrifice completely for God's providence.

This kind of tragic, extremely violent accident cannot happen at random and surely has some providential meaning. When we know that Jean-Pierre's last week on the earth was spiritually so rich, we can feel that something very special was being prepared for him. We all feel responsible not just to mourn over his death, but to follow his example. The fact that he died in his mission, as he was trying to help a blessed couple, together with all his family, makes him a very special heroic offering for God. We feel very proud of our dearest and most beloved brother Jean-Pierre Gabriel and that it is not appropriate to speculate too much about the meaning of his death.

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