A friend’s finale

St. Vincent de Paul says goodbye to Father Giblin
by luke eggleston
sun staff writer

   VESTAL — “We come to share our story, we come to break the bread. We come to know our rising from the dead,” Father Michael Carmola said, introducing his homily honoring his friend Father Richard Giblin, who passed away Thursday, Dec. 4, after a lengthy battle with cancer.

   Father  Carmola was quoting “The Song of the Body of Christ” and the Lord’s resurrection figured prominently in his homily.

   The funeral was held Tuesday, Dec. 9, at St. Vincent de Paul Church, where Father Giblin was pastor.

   Bishop Thomas Costello was the principle celebrant. Roughly 40 priests and deacons of the Syracuse Diocese joined him. The Southern Tier’s clergy were particularly well represented.

   His parents, J. Leo and Rose Giblin; and his sister, Margaret R. Giblin, predeceased Father Giblin. He is survived by his brothers and sister-in-law, Gerald and Dolly Giblin, Chenango Forks, LTC Michael R. Giblin, U.S. Army (retired), Camp Hill, Pa.; and several cousins.

   He was born in Binghamton and his home parish was St. John the Evangelist Church. He was a graduate of Binghamton Central High School, Niagara University and Christ the King Seminary. Bishop Walter A. Foery ordained him a priest of the Diocese of Syracuse on May 21, 1966, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

   He served as associate pastor of St. Paul’s Church, Norwich; St. John the Evangelist Church, Syracuse; and Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Syracuse; and pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Endicott. He served as chaplain at Hutchings Psychiatric Center, Syracuse, where he received the Mental Health Award, designating him as employee of the year. He served as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church, Sanataria Springs, and also served as chaplain at Binghamton Psychiatric Center.

   His brother, Michael Giblin, noted that the late priest’s struggle with cancer had been arduous, making it impossible for him to minister to the parish.

   However, according to Father Carmola, his greatest struggle was with the fact that he could not return to his priestly duties.

   “He said, ‘Mike, the greatest pain is not being able to minister,’” Father Carmola stated.

   During his words of remembrance, Michael Giblin said Sundays were the most difficult for his late brother.

   “He really missed being here and I want to thank all of you,” he told the parishioners of St. Vincent de Paul.

   Early in his homily, Father Carmola referred to a memorial card he had once read, which stated, “Don’t be sad, this is the happiest day of my life. I now see the God I love.”

   Father Carmola said that his late friend was an enthusiastic teacher.

   “Wherever he went, we got a little bit of knowledge of Jesus Christ,” Father Carmola said, adding that Father Giblin embodied four virtues associated with the Lord: love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding.

   One could add humility. Father Carmola noted in particular that Father Giblin had a profound impact on Hutchings Psychiatric Center. Initially, Father Giblin received a tepid welcome at the facility. Although he had not served there since 1990, the employees still inquired about Father Giblin on a routine basis, according to Father Carmola.

   “He treated every person like they were the only person in his life,” Father Carmola said.

   Nevertheless, Father Giblin was unaware of the impact others felt after interacting with him.

   “[Father Giblin] could never comprehend the effect he had on people,” Father Carmola said.

   Father Carmola used an anecdote from the filming of Gandhi to illustrate how Father Giblin lived by example.

   During the filming of Gandhi, the villagers who were observing the production would rush up to Ben Kingsley in between sets. When Kingsley protested that he was not Gandhi but an actor portraying the late Indian activist, the villagers told him that he made Gandhi alive for them

   Similarly, according to Father Carmola, “Dick Giblin made Jesus Christ alive for us…. Today we are grateful for the footprints he left on our heart.”

   Father Carmola concluded his homily by returning to the lyric he had opened with.

   Following final commendations, Father Giblin was carried from the church while members of the choir sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” many of them weeping. He was interred in Calvary Cemetery in Johnson City.

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