Posted by: resparish | July 16, 2008

Remembering Father Michael J. O’Connor, 1937 – 2008

Father Michael J. O’Connor died at 7:40 am, on Wednesday, July 16th, at the Manor Care center in Sunnyvale.

Father Mike served as the pastor of Resurrection Parish from 1990 to 2002. During the past six years, Father Mike had served as an associate pastor at St. Justin’s Parish in Santa Clara and he had just retired from active ministry on June 30th.

In accord with Father Mike’s instructions, his funeral services took place at St. Justin’s Parish on July 21st and 22nd.

Resurrection Parish will be celebrating a Month’s Mind Mass for Father Mike on the one-month anniversary of his burial. The details are:

Month’s Mind Mass
Friday, August 22nd, at 7:00 pm
~ Church of the Resurrection

Michael John O’Connor was born on September 14, 1937 in Cahir, County Tipperary, Ireland to the late Sean O’Connor and Margaret Tobin. He is survived by a sister, Kathleen O’Connor of Berkshire, England.

He finished his elementary and high school education in Ireland. In 1955, he entered the novitiate of the Holy Ghost Fathers in County Tipperary. The following year he started attending Holy Ghost Missionary College in Kimmage. He graduated from University College Dublin with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following his graduation from college, in 1959 he was sent to the West Indies where he served on the staff of St. Mary’s College in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. He was in the West Indies until 1962 when he started his theology courses.

Ordained a priest for the Congregation of the Holy Ghost on July 4, 1965, he set his heart and soul for missionary work in Africa. His first African assignment was as vice rector of Queen of Apostles Seminary in Nairobi, Kenya from 1966 to 1970, at the same time doing missionary work in four Catholic missions in the archdiocese of Nairobi, Kenya. In 1970, he was transferred to Ruiru High School, a government school, located in the administrative district of Kenya’s Central Province, while doing mission work in the Gatundu Mission. From 1972 to 1975, he was the priest in charge of the missions in Gatitu and Kiriku Catholic Missions.

Father O’Connor came to the Archdiocese of San Francisco in August 1975. On August 15, 1975, Archbishop Joseph McGucken assigned him to St. Leo the Great Parish in San Jose as associate pastor. In June 1980, Archbishop John Quinn assigned him as associate pastor of St. Raymond Parish in Menlo Park. Upon the creation of the Diocese of San Jose, Father O’Connor requested to be assigned to the newly created diocese and was subsequently assigned to Sacred Heart Parish in Saratoga as associate pastor from June 1981 to June 1985.

On July 1, 1985, Bishop Pierre DuMaine appointed Father O’Connor as parochial vicar of St. Elizabeth Parish in Milpitas where he stayed for 5 years. On March 1, 1989, Father O’Connor formally left the Congregation of the Holy Ghost and was incardinated into the Diocese of San Jose permanently. On July 1, 1990, he began his ministry as pastor of the Church of the Resurrection in Sunnyvale until June 30, 2002. Following a twelve-year ministry as pastor of Resurrection Parish, Father O’Connor requested and was granted a time of sabbatical, attending a program called “Sojourn in the Land of the Bible” offered at the Centre for Biblical Formation in Jerusalem from October 2002 to May 2003.

When Father O’Connor returned from sabbatical, Bishop Patrick J. McGrath appointed him as parochial vicar of St. Justin Parish in Santa Clara beginning July 1, 2003. Upon reaching the age of 70 last September 14, 2007, Father O’Connor offered to retire from active ministry. He chose to continue to live at St. Justin Rectory after his retirement.

On Monday, July 7, Father O’Connor suffered a mild stroke and heart attack from which he never recovered. He died at Manor Care in Sunnyvale today, July 16, 2008.

He is survived by his sister, Kathleen O’Connor who lives in England and a cousin, Angela Hickey, who attended to him during his recent illness.

Please pray for the repose of his soul. Please pray also for his sister, Kathleen, who is not able to come out here for the funeral. May Father Michael rest in the peace of the Lord.