Roscommon-born Fr Gerry O’Rourke greeted by Pope Francis

When I had the pleasure of meeting a remarkable Roscommon-born priest recently, he had to be prompted into telling me that, within days, he would be having his own audience with Pope Francis.

  And it came to pass on Monday, 23rd of November last, as our photograph shows. Fr. Gerry O’Rourke, who was born in Ballyfarnon and spent his childhood in Roscommon town, was greeted by Pope Francis and had the honour of celebrating Mass with the Pontiff.

  Speaking to me during a visit ‘home’ from America last month, Fr. O’Rourke said that he considered it “an unbelievable honour” to have been invited to Rome to meet the Pope.

  Fr. O’Rourke, who celebrated his 90th birthday in May, is a very highly-regarded figure in the Catholic Church in the USA. He is based in San Francisco and continuing his good work. Throughout his priesthood he has worked tirelessly and very often in a pioneering way in the area of reconcilation of people of different faiths and backgrounds in troubled parts of the world.

  A nephew of the legendary Dan O’Rourke, Fr. Gerry is very proud of his Roscommon roots. A lengthy interview which he gave to the Roscommon People in November can be read in our digital edition (see www.roscommonpeople.com).