Tributes are being paid to Donegal native Fr John Joe Mc Brearty, who passed away in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Fr. McBrearty was born in Bogagh, Carrick in 1931. He emigrated to the US as a young man and it was in Chicago that he was called to the priesthood.
He lived his entire life serving the church, the poor and the disadvantaged.
Fr. McBrearty’s sudden passing has sparked sadness on both sides of the Atlantic.
His Funeral Mass will be held today (Thursday) in St. Therese Catholic Church in Mississippi, with a second Funeral taking place at St. Francis of Assisi in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana on Friday before his burial at a place where he chose himself to rest eternally.
Donegal Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher led the tributes to Fr. McBrearty today, honouring his work and steadfast loyalty to Donegal.
“I had the great pleasure of meeting Fr John Joe on many occasions and I knew him very well, he was a member of an extremely well respected Kilcar family,” Deputy Gallagher said.
Fr McBrearty is predeceased by his sisters Brigid, Anna, Mena and Mary and by his brothers Tommy, James and Hugh Benedict. He is survived by sister-in-law, Evelyn Mc Brearty of Bogagh, Carrick and his three nieces, Noleen and Carmel of Donegal Town and Rosemary from Hastings.
Father John Joe Mc Brearty was born in Bogagh, Carrick, County Donegal, Ireland on March 23, 1931 to his parents James and Sarah (nee Brown). After receiving his primary education in Ireland, he immigrated to Chicago, IL and worked there for four years.
In 1958, he felt a vocation call to study for the priesthood with the St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart, and entered Epiphany Apostolic College in Newburgh, New York. Upon completion of his studies which involved Fr John taking a full degree in a shorter period than normal, he continued through the novitiate year and then priestly formation at St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, DC.
On June 1, 1968, he was ordained a Josephite priest by Patrick Cardinal O’ Boyle in Holy Comforter/St. Cyprian Church in Washington.
His ministry spanned across the United States, from Washington to Louisiana, Delaware, Texas, Virginia, and Mississippi.
Deputy Gallagher said: “Throughout his entire priestly vocation Fr Mc Brearty worked with the poor and disadvantaged, he championed the underprivileged and the less well off.
“He provided assistance and help to those who most needed it and who more often than not never received a helping a hand from either state or community.
“He was an innovator and an extremely hard worker – retirement for him was never on the agenda, as he worked till the last minute God granted him on this earth.”
Fr. Mc Brearty recently completed a full and extensive renovation of the 80-year-old parish church at Gulfport, Mississippi. The church was only newly dedicated just five weeks ago, when he successfully witnessed the labours of his hard work with the reopening of the church.
He returned home to Donegal every August to stay with his late brother James and Evelyn. The Golden Jubilee of his Ordination was celebrated in St Cartha’s Church, Kilcar this year.
“His Donegal roots were always strong and his heart never forgot the land that first nurtured it,” said Deputy Gallagher.
“Eternal rest grant onto your servant Fr John Joe Mc Brearty – your earthly work is now completed, your good deeds go before and your legacy will be forever known amongst those you served well. Rest easy my good friend, reunited with those you loved dearly and that have gone before you.”Tags: