A priest who served Christchurch diocese for 63 years, Msgr Gerard Michael O’Connor, died at his home in Greymouth on April 12.
At his requiem Mass on April 15, Emeritus Bishop Basil Meeking told mourners that Msgr Gerry O’Connor was a man who never put himself forward despite his capabilities and gifts; “he was unfailingly kind, he had a keen intelligence but was a modest man who made a substantial contribution to the life of the Church in Canterbury and Westland”.
“I think of him as one of the great pastors of our diocese in the line of Msgr Long, Msgr James Kennedy, the two Monsignor Hanrahans and many others.
“It is priests of the calibre of Msgr O’Connor who have been the mainstay of our diocese. We, his brother priests will miss him greatly, as will so many to whom he has ministered with real pastoral charity and wisdom.
“Formed and inwardly shaped sacramentally as a priest, Fr Gerard Michael O’Connor set out on the adventure of life in the diocese, a priest who knew what he was as God’s priest and who let that determine the style of his whole life.”
Msgr O’Connor’s appointments were to Greymouth, Ashburton, chaplain at Burnham military camp, Greymouth, the Chatham Islands, Beckenham, Rangiora, Darfield, Aranui, Timaru North, Dallington, cathedral administrator, Greymouth, Sockburn, Burwood and, finally, Greymouth, where he later retired.