Pearse Gallagher, class '38
My first contact with Pearse was in Mr Waller’s Class in 4th year in Castleknock; he having arrived from an earlier spell in O’Connell’s School, proceeded by a primary spell in St Patrick’s Drumcondra, where, l presume, he had his first contact with Vincentian ethos.
We boys in Castleknock who had been on ‘an cúrsa fada’ naturally assumed that he was a Dub born and bred, a mistake immediately corrected by the incumbent. A proper reading of the “gospel of Donegal” left us in no doubt that Dublin in all things ranked as a very poor second-best to his native county. It emerged that the family had come from Gweedore to reside in Drumcondra on the retirement, from his teacher’s principalship, of Pearse’s father, a native speaker.
Subsequent to our three years in Castleknock, we found ourselves making the most fulfilling decision of our lives and arrived together in St Joseph’s Blackrock, where we were accompanied eventually by six other apirants, all of us, thank God, becoming members of the Little Company.
Pearse and I were to soldier together not merely through our formation period but through the university, through ordination and at various stages of our subsequent life in the community; briefly in St Patrick’s College, Armagh, and on various mission ventures, ending up here in Phibsborough from1986 to the present.
Pearse’s physique and powerful voice made him a formidable dean of discipline but ensured that a mission career was only waiting for his arrival; and so it was, that my contact with him on the mission front were brief and uneventful. However, I can recall occasions on which I was privileged (especially in terms of Mission as Gaeilge) when we were working together.
As a missioner he was quite outstanding. There must be very few places, not only in Ireland but in Britain as well, where he could not claim, as he often did, “O yes I gave a mission there”. It must be a cause of great satisfaction now in the Heavenly Kingdom to contemplate the many souls whom he had the privilege of saving, the number of those Parishioners here in St Peter’s who have come up to us since his death to say “We will miss him from the Confessional”.
As well as his many years on the mission ground which brought him for two others spells to St Peter’s, he was also in Sheffield as superior where he was fortunate to have as near neighbours a family of close relatives.
He was deeply devoted to his family, in particular to his sister, a Sister of Mercy who eventually found herself stationed in Nairobi. Pearse was privileged and delighted to have visited her there. Her grave is now in the same cemetery as the Venerable Edel Quinn. His two nephews and their families were a source of great satisfaction to him, their proximity being a great help especially in these last months when he was less mobile.
As a member of the Community, he would always be remembered as a model of observance and punctuality, never other than first at all exercises, never to be caught out in any Liturgical Office changes, always first with the news of any Community procedures.
On the occasion of a mission in the general area of Strabane during the troubled times, as the congregation were preparing to enter the Church for the start of the evening mission, they were horrified to see, right beside the wall of Church, a lorry drawn up, which had been earmarked as loaded with primed bombs. Pearse was one of the missioners involved and he was trying to persuade any brave young men who would be willing to try to remove the obstacles to a safe area. The general reaction was “Ah now Father, would you like to have to do that job yourself’ so he said, “right, I’ll sit in the cab if one of you will drive”; they were so impressed that one of them accepted the challenge and the occasion was saved. – All in the missioners day’s work.
Sagart agus Gaeilgeoir De’n Chéad Scoth. Go Dugaí Dia an Choróin
Rioga dó I Mease na Naomh.
PEARSE (PATRICK JAMES) GALLAGHER
Born: Gweedore, Co Donegal, 30 April 1920
Entered the CM: 7 September 1938
Vows: 8 September 1940
Ordained Priest: 26 May 1946 at Holy Cross College, Clonliffe,
by Dr John Charles McQuaid Archbishop of Dublin
1946-51: St Patrick’s, Armagh
1951-52: St Vincent’s, Castleknock
1952-59: St Peter’s, Phibsborough
1959-69: St Vincent’s, Sheffield
1969-72: St Peter’s, Phibsborough
1972-77: Our Lady’s, Hereford
1977-87: St Stephen’s, Warrington
1987: St Peter’s, Phibsborough
Died: 1 January 2005