Brother Denis Gervais C.Ss.R. died the day before his seventy third birthday. It was Friday June the 8th and planned for the following day was a big birthday celebration, not just for his birthday but for all the youngsters living at the Father Ray Children’s Home, Children’s Village and the School for the Blind.
There was no question that the party should be cancelled, Brother Denis wouldn’t have wanted that to happen, but it was also a chance for the children to pay their respects to a man who dedicated a quarter of a century to the underprivileged in Pattaya.
Brother Denis visited the children every day, even when he could barely walk he always found the strength to visit, and usually carrying several packs of candy. The children saw him each evening when they returned home from school, and so it only seemed fitting that the birthday party should go on as planned.
Birthday cakes were baked and shaped into flags and baseballs, his favourite sport, and they were delicious. And it would not be a Thai party unless there was too much food, and there was plenty.
After the candles were blown out each child was called to the stage where Father Peter presented them with a birthday gift or an envelope containing cash, and they received it against a backdrop with Brother Denis looking down on them.
There is a local belief that says if you die on your birthday then you will go straight to heaven, but for all the good he did during his life Brother Denis is going straight to heaven, no matter what day he died.
The funeral for Brother Denis is taking place on the morning of Friday 15th June at St. Nikolaus Church Pattaya, where he will then be laid to rest close to his good friend Father Ray.