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Fr. Tewes remembered at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville

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Father J. Edwin Thayer Tewes, former parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville, was remembered as someone who united his suffering to the cross of Christ at a funeral Mass at Holy Trinity Aug. 27. He died Aug. 17 at age 65.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop Emeritus Paul S. Loverde and dozens of diocesan priests concelebrated the Mass.

Father Michael J. Roach, pastor of St. Bartholomew Church in Hampstead, Md., and professor at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., was the homilist. He met Father Tewes when he was a seminary student.

“The priesthood of Jesus Christ is no small privilege. The epistle to the Hebrews reminds us that this is not something we seek on our own but rather when called by God, ‘he is able to deal gently with sinners since he himself is beset by weakness,’” said Father Roach. “Theologians tell us that priests should be possessed of hearts patterned after the heart of the master — ‘strong, loving and wise.’”

Father Roach said he knows Father Tewes would want him to ask for prayers that his time in purgatory would be brief. “It is a holy and wholesome thing to pray for the dead,” said Father Roach. “He loved Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and the diocese because of their traditional bent. His was that deeply seeded devotional Catholicism. His was a beautiful charity.”

Father Tewes suffered from health issues. “I believe there to be a certain economy of suffering,” said Father Roach. “There are courageous souls who take on the burden of suffering that others might avoid it. I think I saw that in Father Tewes. He suffered so much in the last year and a half. He never let his suffering consume him. He had it right.”

Father Roach reminded those in attendance that it was a day of hope. “Please pray for him and all those whom he served so well — be it his beloved Bishop Ireton (High School in Alexandria) or the many parishes he knew, and even the mean streets of West Baltimore.”

“As Father Roach mentioned in his homily, Father Eddie showed us what it means to unite our lives, our sufferings, to the cross of Christ,” said Bishop Burbidge.

“Perhaps today, Father Eddy is encouraging all of us who may be carrying a cross at this time of our lives to unite it to the Lord’s cross in confidence that he will always give us the hope of grace and strength to carry that cross,” said Bishop Burbidge.

“We’ve been friends for 23 years,” said Jeanne Corvetti, a parishioner of St. Patrick Church in Fredericksburg who met Father Tewes at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg. “He loved children and my children gravitated toward him. He became a very dear friend.”

“He had a great sense of humor,” said Martha Prokop, a parishioner of St. Stephen the Martyr Church in Middleburg. “He was very sensitive but very devout and devoted to his faith. He worked hard to do things according to the norms, and always had a fun little quip or story.”

Father Tewes was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John R. Keating at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington May 18, 1996.

He served as parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg (1996-2000), St. Timothy Church in Chantilly (2000-04), St. Luke Church in McLean (2004-06), St. Ambrose Church in Annandale (2006-10), St. Francis de Sales Church in Purcellville (2010-15) and Holy Trinity (2015-18).

Interment took place at Fairfax Memorial Park. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019