By Mary Marcano
Augustine Wenceslaus Gordon (September 28, 1955 – October 3, 2019) was known as the man with the dogs. Every day he would sit at the entrance of the church in the same piece of clothing with the dogs around him. His untidy and unkempt condition did not prevent him from attending any service at the parish. His mental health state was a great cause for concern. Combined with his questionable hygiene, this caused others to be very cautious when in his presence. For some he was just a vagrant. Despite all this he never lost sight of his God.
At the time of the consecration of every Mass he attended, his voice rang out loudly and clearly, “MY LORD AND MY GOD!” soon to be followed by, “MY GOD AND MY ALL!”
He was the voice of the Apostle Thomas (Jn 20:28). Gordon never lost his faith in Christ—it never seemed to be shaken despite all the challenges he faced, or the way he was sometimes ridiculed and shunned.
The gospel speaks to us with the words of Matthew 25:36, “I was naked, and you clothed Me, I was sick, and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.”
Again, God speaks to us in Luke’s gospel about the rich man (the Church) and Lazarus (our brother Gordon). How apt that it was this gospel that was read on the Sunday before our dear brother’s passing.
Our parish was able to witness to the truest sense of the gospel, when we came together as a community to help clean up the house of Gordon. We were led on foot by Fr Steve Duncan and his fellow visiting priest, Fr Andrew to our brother Gordon’s house to render assistance.
At the premises, Fr Duncan prayed over us and Gordon, that God would bless our work and sincere efforts.
There were no cameras, no reporters, no electronic media. Our intention was not to go viral; but to go straight to the heart of Our Lord! We were just a happy group of servants, willingly and joyously engaging in helping our fellow parishioner in his time of need. All who were there, about 25 of us had no fear of doing anything that was needed. It was a team effort! No quarrelling, no fussing as can sometimes be the case when so many people come together.
The gospel was again made manifest “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me” (Matt 25:40).
The dirt that we cleaned up from Gordon’s house did not stain our hands or feet. Instead, we were able to wash it off with soap and water—we did not get sick. We must dirty our hands physically to clean the body of Christ; He will clean us spiritually. For it is Christ that cleans out hearts of the dirt of pride and sin which makes us believe that others are beneath us.
Gordon touched our lives in such a profound way, yet in our blindness we foolishly mistook his situation and person for what it appeared to be—someone rejected and scorned.
Gordon did not go to any university, none of which we know. There were no letters before or after his name, yet he was a scholar in his own right. Well read, a philosopher, a willing student in the school of life.
The library became his second home, as a young man. He could debate on the Council of Trent (the council of the Church held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent), St Dominic, the late John Paul II and Our Lady.
His favourite prayer was the Holy Rosary. Gordon could give useful information on any of the saints and their lives and would willingly share any of his books, a medal or a good word.
He would often buy five or six copies of the Catholic News, to share with others. In this way, he did his own evangelisation.
That man of God, Augustine Wenceslaus Gordon was given a royal farewell as both prince and pauper and we—religious and secular—were graced to be present at his final send off.
The homily, given by Fr Urban Hudlin OP, was a stirring and heart-rending reminder of our call as the body of Christ to be like our late brother and focus our attention on the man in the middle as did the Lazarus of Arima—Gordon. On the cross between two thieves, Jesus was the man in the middle.
Jesus, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom (Lk 23:42).