To the Editor: Former St. Patrick’s members not sorry to see priest go


My family and I were members of St. Patrick’s Providence in Grand Rapids until a few years ago. I, my
brothers and sisters and children were baptized, made our first communions, were confirmed, attended
Catechism classes and most of us married at St. Patrick’s.
My wife went to a local Catholic school for eight years and I have a niece who is the religious director
of a Catholic parish in the Cincinnati Diocese.
So we know a little about the church’s teachings and the history of St. Pat’s (though not experts). We
had the pleasure of knowing many fine priests who served in our parish, but were not as impressed with
Father Gallagher.
When my father was dying in the hospital in 1999 we asked Father Gallagher to come and give him Last
Rites. My mother was very upset at the rushed and inaccurate sacrament he performed. We asked at the
hospital for another priest (one from Bowling Green) and he gave my father a traditional Last Rites that
was heartfelt and moving.
Despite this, my mother continued to attend St. Patrick’s until her death in 2004. Her last Rites were
given by the Bowling Green priest, but Father Gallagher did the funeral service. A local funeral home
handled the arrangements. After the burial service Father Gallagher had a discussion with the funeral
director in which he expressed his displeasure with the way things had been handled at the funeral. I
proceeded to tell father that "this was not the place to be having this discussion, over my
parent’s grave."
So my family says "Welcome" to the new priest and "Farewell" to Father Gallagher.
It’s true the renovations at the church brought out the worst in our parish, but Father’s calling
himself "czar of St. Pat’s" probably didn’t help. Since he started at St. Patrick’s we have
lost many longstanding members to other parishes, including my family.
Joe Weaver

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