Gillespie, Fr. Joseph
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Fr. Joseph Gillespie was born on 21 December 1924 to Edward ('Neddie Eoghain Ruaigh') and Sorcha ('Sally Eoin Óig', née Boyle) Gillespie in the 'townland' of Srath na Corcra (Stranacorcra) in the parish of Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore), the sixth of thirteen children. The parish is situated in west of County Donegal, itself found in the Noth-Wset of Ireland and in a region where the Gaeilge (Irish) language is the common vernacular of the people, with its rich heritage of faith and culture. He attended his uncle's elementary school in the village of Gort a Choirce (Gortahork) and subsequently as a boarding student he attended the junior seminary of the Diocese of Raphoe, St Eunan's College in Letterkenny. Graduating from there in 1943, he attended All Hallows College in Dublin, a seminary of the Vincentian Fathers that trained men for the priesthood in other English speaking lands. Many of his contemporaries found themselves in England, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. Fr. Joe, with several of his great friends, were asked to be ordained for the Diocese of Tucson. He was ordained on 18 June 1950 at the College Chapel of All Hallows College. Shortly thereafter he travelled to New York, where he spent some time with his aunts and cousins, and then to Arizona to begin a long a fruitful pastoral ministry. Fr. Gillespie served as Pastor of OLPH in Glendale, St. Gregory in Phoenix, and St. Elizabeth Seton in Sun City. He was also State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus. Upon retirement, Fr. Joe lived in Sun City until failing health led him to live near to his devoted friend and assistant Mary Holland of Phoenix. There, he was able to continue to enjoy friends and old parishioners and the families of those who came to help him in later years. Until he was no longer able to do so, Fr. Joe faithfully offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass each day and never neglected his breviary. He is survived by his brother, Patrick (Srath na Corcra), his sisters-in-law Una (Dublin) and Rosemary (Kerry), eight nieces and sixteen nephews. Predeceasing him are Máire, Ownie (& Bridie), Nellie (& Domhnall), John (& Maureen), Danny (& Maisie), Kevin, Eddie, Paul, Síle, Colm, Sr. Paula (Daughter of Charity of St Vincent de Paul) and his sister-in-law Nellie. The funeral Mass has been set for Friday November 30, 2012 at 11:00 AM at St. Gregory Catholic Church, 3424 North 18th Avenue Phoenix. Bishop Olmsted will preside. The visitation and viewing will begin at 9:00 AM in the church. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Nov. 30, 2012